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Comment & Response |

Indications and Limitations of Afamelanotide for Treating Vitiligo

Thierry Passeron, MD, PhD1
[+] Author Affiliations
1Department of Dermatology, University Hospital of Nice, Nice, France
JAMA Dermatol. 2015;151(3):349-350. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2014.4848.
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To the Editor I read with great interest the study by Lim et al1 on the use of afamelanotide in combination with narrowband UV-B for treating vitiligo. So far, there is no truly satisfactory treatment for vitiligo, so any new approach is most welcome. However, this study raises several issues. Afamelanotide binds with the melanocortin-1 receptor (MC1R), which is the receptor upstream of one of the key pathways for melanogenesis.2 Unfortunately, MC1R is not expressed by melanocyte stem cells, and thus afamelanotide can stimulate pigmentation and increase proliferation of melanocytes but cannot have any effect on the differentiation of melanocyte stem cells.3

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January 1, 2015
Henry W. Lim, MD; Pearl E. Grimes, MD; Oma Agbai, MD; Iltefat Hamzavi, MD; Marsha Henderson, MD; Madelaine Haddican, MD; Rita V. Linkner, MD; Mark Lebwohl, MD
1Multicultural Dermatology Center, Department of Dermatology, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, Michigan
2Vitiligo and Pigmentation Institute of Southern California, Los Angeles
1Multicultural Dermatology Center, Department of Dermatology, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, Michigan3Department of Dermatology, University of California, Davis, Sacramento
4Department of Dermatology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York
JAMA Dermatol. 2015;151(1):42-50. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2014.1875.
March 1, 2015
Henry W. Lim, MD; Pearl E. Grimes, MD; Mark Lebwohl, MD
1Multicultural Dermatology Center, Department of Dermatology, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, Michigan
2Vitiligo and Pigmentation Institute of Southern California, Los Angeles
3Department of Dermatology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York
JAMA Dermatol. 2015;151(3):350. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2014.4951.
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