Published on February 28, 2013 at 4:09 AM
Resarchers Jeffrey A. Mosenson and Andrew Zloza gave mutant HSP70i to mice that developed vitiligo, and the results were striking. Mouse fur - affected by vitiligo -- had the coloring of a salt-and-pepper beard. But when the mice were vaccinated with mutant HSP70i, the fur turned black.
"The mice look normal," Le Poole said.
Some of the effects seen in mice also were seen in human skin specimens.
There are no long-term effective treatments for vitiligo. Steroid creams sometimes return some color to affected skin. But this treatment also thins the skin, and can cause streaks or lines. Bright lights, similar to tanning booths, also can return color, but can cause sunburns and other side effects, including vitiligo. Skin grafts transfer skin from unaffected areas to the white patches, but can be painful and expensive. None of the existing treatments effectively prevent vitiligo from progressing.
Le Poole and colleagues wrote that mutant HSP70i "may offer potent treatment opportunities for vitiligo."
Source: Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine