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Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Volume 14, n° 5P1
pages 733-737 (mai 1986)
Doi : 10.1016/S0190-9622(86)70085-6
accepted : 18 December 1985
Aberrations in T lymphocytes and natural killer cells in vitiligo: A flow cytometric study

Rebat M. Halder, M.D. *, , Curla S. Walters, Ph.D. **, Beverly A. Johnson, M.D. *, Siba G. Chakrabarti, Ph.D. *, John A. Kenney, M.D. *
* Vitiligo Center, Department of Dermatology, Howard University College of Medicine. 
** Vitiligo Center, Department of Medicine, Howard University College of Medicine. 

aReprint requests to; Dr. Rebat M. Halder, Department of Dermatology, Howard University Hospital, 2041 Georgia Ave., Northwest, Washington, DC 20060.

Twenty-five patients with vitiligo and twenty-five healthy control subjects were evaluated with the use of flow cytometry to compare percentages of peripheral T lymphocytes and natural killer cells. The percentages of total T lymphocytes, helper T cells, suppressor T cells, and natural killer cells were evaluated with the use of OKT3, OKT4, OKT8, and Leu-7 monoclonal antibodies, respectively. Mean total T lymphocytes and helper T cells were markedly depressed; mean natural killer cells were markedly elevated and mean suppressor T cells were moderately elevated in patients with vitiligo in comparison with control subjects. These results indicate that cell-mediated immunity is subject to some defect in regulation in patients with vitiligo. It remains to be determined whether these abnormalities are a direct cause or a result of vitiligo. Antibody-dependent cytotoxicity, utilizing killer cells with recently reported antimelanocyte antibodies found in patients, may be responsible for pigment cell destruction in vitiligo. Helper T cells may be reduced because of low levels or faulty production of T lymphocyte-stimulating factors in patients or because of a serum factor in patients that is toxic to helper T cells. The presence or absence of autoimmune and/or endocrine disease in patients with vitiligo had no effect on lymphocyte populations. There seemed to be a trend toward lower levels of helper T cells in patients having vitiligo for the shortest amount of time. In summary, the data indicate immunologic abnormalities in patients with vitiligo.

The full text of this article is available in PDF format.

 Supported by National Institutes of Health Grant No. AM25252.

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