Introduction: It is a pigment disorder characterized
by circumscribed loss of melanin pigment secondary to
melanocyte attrition. It is a acquired, sometimes
familial condition, an autoimmune diseases in majority.
Vitiligo is associated with other autoimmune disease
such as thyroid disease, diabetes mellitus, pernicious
The term "vitiligo" has been derived from the latin word
"vitelius" meaning calf. The characteristic white
patches of spotted calf. The term was first used by
Celsus, a roman physican of 2nd century A.D.The earliest
information regarding the disease has been obtained from
Trikh-e-tibbe-iran during the period of Aushooryan (2200
BC). After that, information has further been obtained
from Ebers papyrus (1550 BC) in which two types of
pigmentary dilutions have been distinguished. One type
had tumors and mutation and the other type only change
of colour. The former represented leprosy and the later
vitiligo which according to Ebers Papyrus was treatable.
In the sacred Indian book Atharva Veda dating to 1400
B.C. the condition "shweta kustha" was referred to
vitiligo. white spots were also described in greek
literature; heradotus (484-425 B.C) wrote in Clio 1:138
in 449 B.C. from the far east in Makatominoharai, a
collection of Shinto prayers dating from 1200 B.C.
"shira bito" or white man is mentioned. In the Buddhist
sacred book Vinay Pitah (624-544 B.C.) "Kilas" is
mentioned; those afflicted with Leucoderma could not be
Genetic: A genetic factor is definitely important, as
about 30% of patients have a positive family history.
Inheritance may be polygenic.
Autoimmune hypothesis: vitiligo is frequently associated
with autoimmune disorders. Antibodies to melanocytes
have also been demonstrated, suggesting an autoimmune
Neurogenic hypothesis: This theory suggest that a
toxin which destroys melanocytes, is released at the
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