Research - Vitiligo
Pepper Compound Could Aid Millions With Vitiligo
Oregon Health & Science University has licensed a family of compounds derived from black pepper extract – on which it owns the patents – to AdPharma, Inc. for potential pharmaceutical development. The compounds have shown potential in animal studies to be effective in treating vitiligo, a skin pigmentation disorder.
Vitiligo, which afflicts an estimated 100 million people worldwide, is characterized by the loss of pigment in affected areas of skin. It is the disease pop star Michael Jackson has publicly disclosed that he has. It is neither life-threatening nor contagious. But the sometimes unsightly white patches it causes produce emotional distress for many and often lead to social ostracism because of a widespread misperception that the condition is infectious.
An estimated 1 percent to 2 percent of the world’s population suffers from the malady. Current treatments, which rely on immunosuppression or ultraviolet radiation to stimulate repigmentation, are only partially effective, often producing a mottled appearance. Excessive ultraviolet (UV) radiation also poses the risk of skin cancer.
“Based on the animal studies we have done, these compounds, if proved safe in humans, promise far superior results in the treatment of vitiligo than current approaches,” said Amala Soumyanath, Ph.D., an associate professor of neurology, OHSU School of Medicine. “Vitiligo is a highly visible disease that can greatly affect patients psychologically and emotionally, even driving some to consider suicide. Any breakthrough in treating it would benefit a huge number of people around the world.”
Soumyanath and her collaborators reported on the effects of their compounds in animals in a paper just published in the British Journal of Dermatology. But development of the concept dates back more than a decade. Soumyanath discovered – in research on vitiligo that she initiated at King’s College London – that piperine, the alkaloid in black pepper responsible for its pungency, stimulated the proliferation of melanocytes in cell cultures. Melanocytes are the cells that produce pigmentation in the skin. The researchers then designed and tested many synthetic piperine analogs and identified a number that produced the same result.
The group subsequently found that piperine and two of its analogs – tetrahydropiperine (THP) and a cyclohexyl derivative (RCHP) produced light, even pigmentation when applied to the skin of a poorly pigmented mouse model. When combined with UV radiation, the skin grew significantly darker and showed none of the patchiness caused by UV treatment alone. Moreover, skin pre-treated with a piperine compound required fewer UV exposures, thus lowering the cancer risk, and it took longer for the pigmentation to fade again than when UV alone was used.
Since coming to OHSU in 2002, Soumyanath has established new collaborations with scientific and clinical researchers to continue work on this project. “Dr. Soumyanath’s recent discoveries open up completely new and exciting treatment possibilities for those individuals affected by vitiligo,” said Andrew Blauvelt, M.D., professor of dermatology at OHSU and one of Soumyanath’s recent collaborators. “There is a huge unmet need for this disease because we have very few treatments to offer patients right now,” he noted.
OHSU acquired the patents to Soumyanath’s piperine compounds from King’s College London and BTG International Ltd. in 2006 and succeeded in finding a commercial partner, AdPharma, to advance the compounds through pharmaceutical development. Soumyanath has a financial interest in AdPharma. This potential conflict has been disclosed to the OHSU Conflict of Interest in Research committee for management.
AdPharma, a diverse pharmaceutical company headquartered in Arlington Heights, Ill., licenses promising compounds from scientists, universities and biotech companies and advances them through the clinical testing stage. “Our key strength is being able to identify, through our computer models and past experience, promising drugs which we can then drive through our strong development structure,” said Anil Sunkara, the company’s chief executive officer.
The next step before clinical trials can be undertaken, said Soumyanath, is to determine in animal models whether the repigmentation effects of piperine compounds is associated in any way with melanoma or other skin cancers. “From our mouse studies so far, it doesn’t appear that is the case,” she said, “and we are hopeful that more detailed research will bear this out. OHSU has ideal facilities and expertise for further preclinical and clinical studies, and we are excited to have the support of AdPharma as we move toward testing these compounds in human vitiligo.”
Source : Science Daily
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Hypothesis: Zinc can be effective in treatment of vitiligo
Vitiligo is a common depigmenting skin disorder (prevalence 0.1-2%), still represents a cause of stigmatization and quality of life impairment in a large population. Several theories on vitiligo etiopathogenesis have been suggested including in trauma, stress, and autoimmune and genetic predisposition, accumulation of toxic compounds, altered cellular environment, imbalance in the oxidant-antioxidant system, impaired melanocyte migration and/or proliferation, infection, and psychological factors. Zinc, as a trace element, has many vital functions in human. It is antiapoptotic factor and needed as a cofactor for antioxidant defense system. It plays an important role in the process of melanogenesis. It may be effective in prevention and treatment of vitiligo via some mechanism. Herein, we suggested some probable protective mechanism for zinc in association with vitiligo.
Source : Indian Journal of Dermatology
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Vitiligo treatment with vitamins, minerals and polyphenol supplementation
Background: Mammalian pigmentation results from the synthesis and accumulation of photo protective epidermal melanin. Melanin was formed from the amino acid precursor L-tyrosine within specialized cells, the melanocytes. Oxidative stress has been suggested to be the initial pathogenetic event in melanocyte degeneration with H 2 O 2 accumulation in the epidermis of patients with active disease. Auto immunity has been also suggested as another hypothesis in the pathogenesis of depigmentation disorders. Topical corticosteroids and phototherapy as common treatment modalities have been prescribed in patients with vitiligo. However, they are often not effective and safe (epidermal atrophy). Therefore, research for alternative therapies continues.
Aims: To evaluate the beneficial effects of a supplementation with antioxidant vitamins (A, C, E) and minerals (zinc, selenium) for vitiligo treatment.
Methods: Forty experimental autoimmune vitiligo mice C57BL6, aged from 5 to 12 months showing visible signs of induced vitiligo, were sequentially randomized into five parallel groups (8 mice per group). Each group mice was allocated an identical pre coded cage. the first group (SZV) received the ED+1,4 g zinc (Zn)+0.04 g selenium (Se)+vitamins (A 118 UI, C 8,5 mg, E 5,4 UI) /kg diet, the second group (PSZV) received the ED+1,4 g zinc (Zn)+0.04 g selenium (Se)+vitamins (A 118 UI, C 8.5 mg, E 5,4 UI)/kg diet+Polyphenol orally, the group 3 (PSZ ) received the ED+green tea decoction prepared from 100 g/l (polyphenol orally)+1,4 g Zn+0.04 g Se, the 4 (P) received the ED+green tea decoction prepared green tea decoction prepared from 100 g/l, the control group 5(C) received the ED++ distilled water. Cure was defined as repigmentation of treated sites. Photographic and optical techniques were used both at the baseline and on weekly basis.
Results: By the end of the study, mices showed visible repigmentation. Using the investigator's global assessment, therapeutic success in terms of a clear repigmentation documented in 70% of treated mice.
Conclusion: Our findings suggest that an antioxidant supplementation is significantly beneficial in contributing superior clinical efficacy to cure vitiligo.
Source : Indian Journal of Dermatology
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Vitiligo: A review of some facts lesser known about depigmentation
Vitiligo is a disorder that causes the destruction of melanocytes. It has three important factors underlying this destruction. The depigmented skin has many aberrant functions such as a muted response to contact allergens, a phenomenon also seen in mice that depigment. The white skin of those with vitiligo does not form non-melanoma skin cancers although the white skin of albinos, which has a similar color as vitiligo, is highly susceptible to skin cancer.
Source : Indian Journal Dermatology
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