This study was initiated to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of intraepidermal injection of dissociated epidermal cells into the lesions of stable vitiligo patients. Autologous dissociated epidermal cell suspensions were injected intraepidermally into 10 stable vitiligo patients. None of the patients received adjuvant therapy. The response was evaluated as: marked (76-100%), moderate (51-75%), mild (26-50%) and minimal repigmentation (0-25%). Transmission electron microscopy was used to evaluate the transplanted cells and immunohistochemical staining with HMB-45 was performed to assess the repigmentation in vivo. In all cases, repigmentation started during the 4-week period after transplantation. Six months after transplantation, a marked repigmentation in four (40%), moderate repigmentation in two (20%) and mild repigmentation in two (20%) patients were observed. Two (20%) patients with white patches on their lids showed minimal repigmentation. No side effects were observed in any patients. Interestingly, repigmentation of gray hair in one patient, 4 months post transplantation was observed. Analysis of the ultrastructure of transplanted cells showed 1.5% of the cells had melanocyte morphology. HMB-45 positive cells were observed after cell transplantation. This method is an effective, simple and safe therapeutic option for stable vitiligo lesions.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00631865.