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Dermatology Research and Practice
Volume 2015, Article ID 145409, 7 pages
Research Article

Decreased Circulating T Regulatory Cells in Egyptian Patients with Nonsegmental Vitiligo: Correlation with Disease Activity

1Faculty of Medicine, Dermatology and Venereology Department, Tanta University Hospitals, El Geish Street, Tanta 31111, Egypt
2Faculty of Medicine, Clinical Pathology Department, Tanta University Hospitals, El Geish Street, Tanta 31111, Egypt

Received 10 September 2015; Revised 28 November 2015; Accepted 30 November 2015

Academic Editor: Elizabeth Helen Kemp

Copyright © 2015 Doaa Salah Hegab and Mohamed Attia Saad Attia. 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.


Background. Vitiligo is an acquired depigmentary skin disorder resulting from autoimmune destruction of melanocytes. Regulatory T cells (Tregs), specifically CD4+CD25+ and Forkhead box P3+ (FoxP3+) Tregs, acquired notable attention because of their role in a variety of autoimmune pathologies. Dysregulation of Tregs may be one of the factors that can break tolerance to melanocyte self-antigens and contribute to vitiligo pathogenesis. Methods. In order to sustain the role of Tregs in pathogenesis and disease activity of vitiligo, surface markers for CD4+CD25+ and FoxP3+ peripheral Tregs were evaluated by flow cytometry in 80 Egyptian patients with nonsegmental vitiligo in addition to 60 healthy control subjects and correlated with clinical findings. Results. Vitiligo patients had significantly decreased numbers of both peripheral CD4+CD25+ and FoxP3+ T cells compared to control subjects (11.49%  ± 8.58% of CD4+ T cells versus 21.20%  ± 3.08%, and 1.09%  ± 0.96% versus 1.44%  ± 0.24%, resp., for both). Peripheral numbers of CD4+CD25+ and FoxP3+ Tregs correlated negatively with VIDA score. Conclusion. Treg depletion with impaired immune downregulatory function might play a key role in the autoimmune conditions beyond nonsegmental vitiligo particularly in active cases. Effective Treg cell-based immunotherapies might be a future hope for patients with progressive vitiligo.