Trained immunity may play a significant role in the development of vitiligo. Scientists believe that trained immunity could have an even greater impact on the disease’s pathogenesis, acting as a continuous enhancer and trigger. In a recent study review, experts examined how immunity contributes to the pathogenesis of vitiligo. The review authors found that certain characteristics of vitiligo are associated with trained immunity-related patterns. These include cytokines and chemokines, the metabolism of immune cells, epigenetic marks, and mTOR signaling.
What Did Previous Research Say?
Various studies from as early as 1997 to as recent as 2022 demonstrated the involvement of innate immunity in vitiligo. The study discovered that patients with vitiligo had stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) that produced more IL-6 and IL-8 than control cells. While the adaptive immune system is already known to play a role in melanocyte loss, a 2021 study also suggested that the innate immune system also contributes to the chronic skin condition’s development.
Other signs linked to innate immunity in vitiligo include abnormal DNA methylation of mononuclear cells and impaired activity of Sirtuin3 in melanocytes. Other factors include increased levels of NLRP3 inflammasome and IL-1β in keratinocytes, elevated mRNA and protein levels of anaerobic glycolytic enzymes in pigmented vitiligo skin cells treated with Pioglitazone, and the release of extracellular adenosine 5′-triphosphate by stressed keratinocytes.
The Way Ahead
While the extent of trained immunity in autoimmunity remains uncertain, the genetic and clinical findings provide support for its potential involvement in vitiligo. Going forward, more studies focusing on metabolic and epigenetic changes in innate immune cell populations can shed light on the role of trained immunity in vitiligo’s pathogenesis. Understanding the role of trained immunity in vitiligo could pave the way for new therapeutic approaches. It will help target the innate immune system and potentially lead to more effective treatments for this challenging skin disorder.