Expression of melanocortin 1 receptor before and after narrowband UVB phototherapy treatment in patients with stable vitiligo: A prospective study



1 Department of Dermatology, ‘Dr. Jose Eleuterio Gonzalez’ University Hospital of The School of Medicine,
Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, Monterrey, Nuevo León 64460;
2 Department of Research, Universidad Autónoma de Coahuila, Faculty of Medicine, Saltillo, Coahuila 25000, Mexico


Vitiligo is a disease characterized by skin depigmentation caused by the selective destruction of melanocytes. The melanocortin system participates as a regulator of melanogenesis and skin pigmentation. Narrowband UVB phototherapy (nb‑UVB) is currently considered to be the gold standard and first choice treatment method for vitiligo vulgaris. The aim of the present study was to analyze the clinical and biochemical parameters of vitiligo, as well as to determine the expression of proopiomelanocortin (POMC), melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R) and melanocortin 4 receptor (MC4R) genes in the skin of patients with stable vitiligo receiving nb‑UVB phototherapy. Patient clinical and biochemical parameters, and the skin biopsies of 22 patients with stable vitiligo were analyzed. These biopsies were obtained before and after nb‑UVB phototherapy. The genetic expression analysis of POMC, MC1R and MC4R genes was performed via RNA‑Sequence analysis. A statistical evaluation of the clinical and biochemical parameters, the degree of response to treatment and the expression profiles of the melanocortin system genes were performed to identify their association with treatment response. A two‑sided P≤0.05 value was considered to indicate a statistically significant difference. Alterations were observed in the expression profiles of MC1R following nb‑UVB phototherapy (P≤0.05). In addition, elevated levels of triiodothyronine were associated with a poor response to nb‑UVB phototherapy. In conclusion the current study revealed that nb‑UVB phototherapy altered the expression profile of the MC1R gene.

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