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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 30-34

Does copper has a role in vitiligo? Analysis of tissue and serum copper in vitiligo

Department of Dermatology, JSS Medical College, Shivarathreeshwara Nagar, JSS Academy of Higher Education & Research Centre, Mysuru, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
MD Vinutha Rangappa
Department of Dermatology, JSS Medical College, Shivarathreeshwara Nagar, JSS Academy of Higher Education & Research, Mysuru 570015, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/Pigmentinternational.Pigmentinternational_

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Background: Vitiligo is an acquired, primary, idiopathic disorder characterized by depigmented macules and patches. Melanin, a natural pigment of skin, requires amino acid tyrosine for its synthesis. Tyrosinase, a key regulatory enzyme, is a copper (Cu) dependent enzyme. Thus, Cu plays a role in melanogenesis however, we need to look at the role of Cu in the pathogenesis of vitiligo. Aim: To estimate serum and tissue copper levels in vitiligo patients, and to compare with first degree relatives of patients and control group. Materials and Methods: All cases of vitiligo attending tertiary care hospital were included in the study. Venous blood samples were collected from subjects, first degree relatives and controls, punch biopsy specimens were collected from lesional and non-lesional skin of cases, controls and were analysed using inductively coupled plasma emission spectrometry. Results: Of 60 patients, serum Cu levels in cases were found to be low in 35, normal in 22 and high in 3. Mean serum Cu of first degree relatives was also low. Mean lesional Cu was 1.3 μg/g and non-lesional Cu was 1.4μg/g in vitiligo patients, which was lower than tissue Cu levels of controls(1.9 μg/g) (p value > 0.05). Conclusions: In our study the lesional and non-lesional Cu levels were lower in vitiligo patients. This low Cu levels may lead to reduced activity of enzyme tyrosinase, which is essential in the process of melanogenesis. Though role of Cu in melanogenesis is proven, its role in pathogenesis of vitiligo needs to be studied further.

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