Numbers and differentiation status of melanocytes in idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis

Michael L. Wallace, James M. Grichnik, Victor G. Prieto, Christopher R. Shea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The etiology and pathogenesis of idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis (IGH) are largely unknown. To investigate whether the pathologic alteration in IGH involves changes in melanocytic differentiation, cell number, or both, we studied nine lesions of IGH by immunoperoxidase, using monoclonal antibodies against the KIT receptor and a panel of melanocyte differentiation antigens (tyrosinase-related protein-1, tyrosinase, and gp100/pmel17). In each case, compared with grossly normal non-lesional skin, IGH lesions showed markedly reduced numbers both of KIT+ cells and of cells expressing melanocyte differentiation antigens (p < 0.0001). Double immunofluorescence labeling of lesions revealed only scattered cells with a less-differentiated phenotype, i.e. cells positive for KIT but having low or undetectable TRP-1. These results indicate that the pathogenesis of IGH involves an absolute decrease in the number of melanocytes; a block in melanocyte differentiation does not appear to be a major component of the process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)375-379
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Cutaneous Pathology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 25 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Dermatology


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