(HealthDay News) – In patients with vitiligo, a depigmenting disorder characterized by loss of melanocytes from the epidermis, melanocyte transplantation is more likely to be successful in patients whose disease has been stable for longer periods, according to a study published online Feb. 13 in the British Journal of Dermatology.

A. Rao, and colleagues from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, divided 33 patients with generalized vitiligo affecting <10% of their body surface into three clinical stability groups: stability greater than three months but less than one year (Group 1), at least one year but less than two years (Group 2), and at least two years (Group 3). Melanocyte transplantation was done on a single patch, and blood was drawn for catalase estimation in patients and 10 healthy controls. Immunohistochemistry was analyzed on the day of transplant.

As defined by ≥75% repigmentation at six months, the researchers found that the success rate for melanocyte transplantation was 0% for Group 1, 37.5% for Group 2, and 77.8% for Group 3. Compared with nonresponders, the median period of stability was significantly longer in responders. There were no significant differences in catalase levels in all three groups of patients, in patients versus healthy controls, or in responders versus non-responders. Compared with responders, the percentage of CD8 and CD45RO cells were significantly higher in the nonresponders.

“Along with clinical stability, proportion of CD8 and CD45RO cells in skin biopsies might help in determining stability of disease and thereby predicting success of transplantation,” Rao and colleagues conclude.

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