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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

High prevalence of vitiligo in lepromatous leprosy.

BACKGROUND: Leprosy and vitiligo are common affections in the West Indies. Vitiligo frequently occurs in lepromatous patients, an observation rarely reported in the literature. METHODS: We studied the prevalence of vitiligo in patients affected by leprosy by performing a retrospective study between 1978 and 1999 in the French West Indies (Martinique). RESULTS: Eleven patients presented with vitiligo among 101 with lepromatous (multibacillary) leprosy. None presented with vitiligo among the 364 with the tuberculoid (paucibacillary) form. The mean age of the vitiligo patients was 55. 4 years at vitiligo onset. The sex ratio was 0. 8. Vitiligo occurred 19 years after the diagnosis of leprosy, with a range from 3 to 42 years. The prevalence of vitiligo in lepromatous patients was 10.9%, compared to 0% in tuberculoid patients. Such an increase in prevalence compared with that in the general population (0.34%) was shown to be highly significant (P< 0.0001). CONCLUSIONS: Our data confirmed that the association of vitiligo and leprosy was not fortuitous. The physiopathology leading to this high rate of vitiligo in lepromatous leprosy is unclear, despite the fact that autoimmunity plays a major role in both diseases.[1]


  1. High prevalence of vitiligo in lepromatous leprosy. Boisseau-Garsaud, A.M., Vezon, G., Helenon, R., Garsaud, P., Saint-Cyr, I., Quist, D. International journal of dermatology. (2000) [Pubmed]
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