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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 160203, 7 pages
Clinical Study

Videocapillaroscopic Alterations in Alopecia Areata

Department of Dermatology, Venereology and Paediatric Dermatology, Medical University of Lublin, Radziwiłłowska 13, 20-080 Lublin, Poland

Received 30 April 2013; Revised 29 July 2013; Accepted 19 August 2013

Academic Editor: Maxim E. Darvin

Copyright © 2013 Agnieszka Gerkowicz et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Alopecia areata (AA) is a common hair disorder observed in dermatological practice; however, the exact mechanisms that lead to the hair loss are still unknown. Disturbances in the blood supply of hair follicles may be one of the elements in the complex pathogenesis of AA. Nailfold videocapillaroscopy is a noninvasive technique that allows analysis of skin microcirculation in vivo. The aim of the study was the videocapillaroscopic assessment of skin microcirculation in AA patients. The study included 44 patients with patchy alopecia areata, 27 with alopecia universalis or totalis, and 40 healthy volunteers. Nailfold videocapillaroscopy was performed in all participants according to a standard protocol. Obtained images were assessed qualitatively and quantitatively. Two types of videocapillaroscopic images were distinguished in the study. Abnormal videocapillaroscopic images were found in 42% of patients. Tortuous and branching capillaries ( , ), decreased density of capillaries ( ), enlargement of the efferent limb ( ), or top part of the loop ( ) were observed significantly more often than in the control group. Only some patients with AA presented with microvascular abnormalities characterised by altered videocapillaroscopic images. More studies, including larger group of patients with AA, are required to determine the role of observed videocapillaroscopic alterations in AA.