SOURCE: Gill L, et al. Comorbid autoimmune diseases in patients with vitiligo: A cross-sectional study. J Am Acad Dermatol 2016;74:295-302.

The cause of vitiligo (VTL) remains obscure, but it is generally recognized to be an autoimmune disorder, with components of genetic predisposition, environmental stressors, and oxidative stress that ultimately influence its presentation. The most common disorder with which clinicians may associate VTL is hypothyroidism, which is also usually autoimmune (Hashimoto’s disease).

Gill et al reviewed autoimmune comorbidities associated with VTL in a large population (n = 1873) of VTL patients observed at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit between 2002-2012. A number of comorbid autoimmune disorders were significantly more frequently identified in the VTL population than in the comparator general U.S. population. Included among these were hypothyroidism, alopecia areata, inflammatory bowel disease, pernicious anemia, lupus, myasthenia gravis, and Sjogren’s syndrome. Overall, approximately 20% of VTL patients had one or more comorbid autoimmune disorders. The authors suggested vigilance and appropriate screening for comorbid autoimmune disorders when patients present with VTL.