What is vitiligo? Vitiligo is a chronic (long-lasting) disorder that causes areas of skin to lose color. When skin cells that make color are attacked and destroyed, the skin turns a milky-white color. No one knows what causes vitiligo, but it may be an autoimmune disease. In people with autoimmune diseases, the immune cells attack the body’s own healthy tissues by mistake, instead of viruses or bacteria. A person with vitiligo sometimes may have family members who also have the disease. There is no cure for vitiligo, but treatment may help skin tone appear more even.
A bioengineered molecule designed to bind together key components found in the fluid that surrounds joint areas may improve lubrication and minimize friction. This could potentially slow the degeneration of cartilage tissue that occurs in knee osteoarthritis, according to a study conducted in rats and funded in part by the NIH’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. The study was published in Nature Materials. The synovial fluid that bathes our joints is composed of several types of lubricants, including hyaluronic acid (HA) and lubricin. In healthy joints, this fluid ensures that tissues move together smoothly and without
Integrins, a large class of cell surface molecules, play a role in a skin disease called scleroderma, according to research funded in part by the NIH’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases and published in the journal Nature. The study showed that targeting integrins in mice with a form of scleroderma reversed the skin abnormalities associated with the disease. Scleroderma is a potentially life-threatening condition in which previously healthy people develop scarring of the skin, and in some cases damage to blood vessels and internal organs. In most forms of scleroderma, the cause of the disease is
Altering a key protein involved in the development of vitiligo may protect against—or even reverse—the pigmentation loss associated with the skin disorder in mice, according to recent research funded by the NIH’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, and published in the journal Science Translational Medicine. Vitiligo is a progressive autoimmune disease in which the skin cells that impart color (melanocytes) are destroyed, resulting in white patches on the face, hands and other parts of the body. Scientists are unsure what causes vitiligo. They are investigating the biological mechanisms that trigger the disease, as well as its
A higher level of a small signaling molecule correlates with a more severe form of scleroderma, a chronic autoimmune disorder that involves the abnormal growth of connective tissue, according to a study funded in part by the NIH’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases and published in The New England Journal of Medicine. The findings suggest that the molecule, CXCL4, could be used as a diagnostic marker for the disease and as a therapeutic target. Scleroderma is an autoimmune disease characterized by damage to blood vessels and thickening and scarring of the skin. In some cases, internal
Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a team of scientists has detected structural changes in the knee joint that precede signs of osteoarthritis seen on X-rays. The study, which was supported in part by the NIH’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), calls into question the assumption that damage to cartilage is the primary underlying cause of osteoarthritis. The findings appeared in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatology.