Potential Role of Neurogenic Inflammatory Factors in the Pathogenesis of Vitiligo

J Cutan Med Surg. Jul-Aug 2012;16(4):230-44. doi: 10.1177/120347541201600404.


Background: Vitiligo is a highly complex multifactorial condition of the skin that has an unclear mechanism of pathogenesis.

Objective: This review summarizes the role of various neurogenic inflammatory factors significantly upregulated in vitiligo.

Methods: A literature review was conducted of all pertinent data regarding neuropeptides that are altered in vitiligo and their possible role in the destruction of melanocytes.

Results: The close associations between the skin, immune system, and nervous system, along with specific changes demonstrated in vitiligo patients, support a pathogenic mechanism of vitiligo that involves neuroimmunologic factors, the release of which can be governed by mental stress.

Conclusion: Neuropeptides and nerve growth factors are critical regulators of emotional response and may precipitate the onset and development of vitiligo in certain predisposed individuals. More studies are required to investigate whether a direct link exists between genetics, mental stress, and neurogenic factors in vitiligo.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide / immunology
  • Catecholamines / immunology
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Humans
  • Melanocytes / immunology
  • Nerve Growth Factor / immunology
  • Neurogenic Inflammation / immunology*
  • Neuropeptide Y / immunology
  • Vitiligo / immunology*
  • Vitiligo / metabolism
  • Vitiligo / psychology
  • Vitiligo / therapy


  • Catecholamines
  • Neuropeptide Y
  • Nerve Growth Factor
  • Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide