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Individuals diagnosed with vitiligo have significantly greater levels of anti-thyroid peroxidase and anti-thyroglobulin antibodies, which are the markers of autoimmune thyroid diseases.

Vitiligo is an acquired skin disorder characterized by progressive melanocyte loss. Vitiligo is associated with autoimmune disorders, the most prevalent being autoimmune conditions of the thyroid. Vitiligo patients have significantly higher levels of anti-thyroid peroxidase (anti-TPO) antibody, which is a marker for Grave’s disease and Hashimoto thyroiditis (HT). Compared to controls, vitiligo patients have significantly increased levels of anti-TPO and anti-thyroglobulin (anti-TG) antibodies. The findings of this case-control study are published in the journal Cureus.  

Vitiligo Patients Have a Higher Prevalence of Autoimmune Thyroid Diseases

In addition to elevated levels of anti-TPO and anti-TG, individuals with vitiligo have a greater genetic risk for the FoxD3 allele, a gene involved in embryonal melanogenesis, compared to controls. The mean/SD of serum anti-TPO and anti-TG antibodies levels in the study participants was 210.5/259.6 and 72.4/109.3, respectively, with a P value of 0.01. Of the 26 total euthyroid vitiligo subjects, 10 patients had either of the two thyroid antibodies, and 4 had subclinical hypothyroidism.

A Larger Sample Size Is Required for Higher Evidence Level

This case-control study included a total of 60 participants, equally divided into control and vitiligo groups. Study results indicated extreme outliers resulting in skewed mean values due to the small sample size. Further studies should adopt a longitudinal cohort design with a larger sample size in order to produce a higher evidence level.

Significantly higher levels of anti-TPO and anti-TG antibodies in individuals with vitiligo indicate the clinical association between autoimmune thyroid diseases and vitiligo.

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 Prashant, P., Garg, R., Bansal, P., & Praveen, S. (2023). Thyroid Autoimmunity in Vitiligo: A Case-Control Study. Cureus, 15(1), e34031. https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.34031