In situ immune infiltrates in lesional, perilesional, and nonlesional skin biopsies from patients with vitiligo were analyzed by immunohistochemistry and compared with immune infiltrates found in the skin of normal healthy donors and relevant disease controls. An increased influx of activated skin-homing T cells and macrophages were seen in the perilesional biopsies. The overall percentages of cutaneous leukocyte-associated antigen-positive (CLA+) T cells were similar to those found in normal healthy donors. This is compatible with the similar expression of E-selectin. Most strikingly, however, the CLA+ T cells in perilesional skin were mainly clustered in the vicinity of disappearing melanocytes, and 60% to 66% of these interacting T Cells expressed perforin and granzyme-B. The perforin+/granzyme-B+ cells were not seen in locations different from that of disappearing melanocytes. Interestingly, the majority of the infiltrating T cells were HLA-DR/CD8+. Another hallmark of the present study is the focal expression of intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-1 and HLA-DR in the epidermis at the site of interaction between the immune infiltrates and the disappearing melanocytes. The data presented in this study are consistent with a major role for skin-homing T cells in the death of melanocytes seen in vitiligo.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology