New discoveries in the pathogenesis and classification of vitiligo

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2017 Jul;77(1):1-13. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2016.10.048.


Vitiligo is a common autoimmune disease that progressively destroys melanocytes in the skin, resulting in the appearance of patchy depigmentation. This disfiguring condition frequently affects the face and other visible areas of the body, which can be psychologically devastating. The onset of vitiligo often occurs in younger individuals and progresses for life, resulting in a heavy burden of disease and decreased quality of life. Presentation patterns of vitiligo vary, and recognition of these patterns provides both diagnostic and prognostic clues. Recent insights into disease pathogenesis offer a better understanding of the natural history of the disease, its associations, and potential for future treatments. The first article in this continuing medical education series outlines typical and atypical presentations of vitiligo, how they reflect disease activity, prognosis, and response to treatment. Finally, we discuss disease associations, risk factors, and our current understanding of disease pathogenesis.

Keywords: chemical leukoderma; confetti depigmentation; halo nevi; leukoderma; segmental vitiligo; vitiligo; vitiligo pathogenesis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Vitiligo / classification*
  • Vitiligo / diagnosis
  • Vitiligo / etiology*