Recent evidence suggests that oxidative stress, auto-immunity and melanocyte apoptosis are involved vitiligo.
Essentially what happens in vitiligo is hyperactive T cells decide to target and kill melanocytes:
- Melanocytes have abnormally high levels of cellular stress, which can be caused by inherited factors, genetic factors, or both.
- Stressed melanocytes produce signals that activate innate immune cells to initiate inflammation that leads to autoimmunity.
- Innate immune signals recruit adaptive immune cells (primarily CD8+ T Cells) into the skin, which then find melanocytes and kill them, resulting in white spots, or depigmentation.