Investigator: Florence Joly
Vitiligo is an acquired depigmentation of the skin inducing a marked alteration of the quality of life of affected individuals. Halting the disease progression and repigmenting the lesional skin represent the two faces of the therapeutic challenge in vitiligo. So far, none of them has been successfully addressed. Oxidative stress and immune system in genetically predisposed individuaLesionalparticipate to the complex pathophysiology of vitiligo. We performed a transcriptome and proteomic analysis on lesional, perilesional and non-depigmented skin of vitiligo patients compared to matched skin controLesionalof healthy subjects. Our results show that the WNT pathway, implicated in melanocytes differentiation, was found to be altered in vitiligo skin. We demonstrated that the oxidative stress decreases WNT expression/activation in keratinocytes and in melanocytes. We developed an ex vivo skin model that remains functional up to 15 days. We then confirmed the decreased activation of the WNT pathway in human skin subjected to oxidative stress. Finally, using pharmacological agents that activate the WNT pathway, we treated the ex vivo depigmented skins from vitiligo patients and successfully induced the differentiation of resident stem celLesionalinto pre-melanocytes supporting further exploration of WNT activators to repigment vitiligo lesions.