A review of cultured epidermal melanocyte transplantation in vitiligo

Shaghayegh Zokaei,1 Dariush d. farhud,2,* Mohammad keykhaei,3 Marjan zarif yeganeh,4 Hoda rahimi,5 Hamideh moravvej,6

1. School of Advanced Medical Sciences, Islamic Azad University, Tehran Medical Branch, Tehran, Iran
2. School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical sciences, Tehran, Iran/Genetic Clinic, Vallie Asr Sq, Tehran, I
3. Tehran University of Medical Sciences Exceptional Talents Development Center Students Scientific Research Center, Teh
4. Cellular and Molecular Research Center, Research Institute for Endocrine Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University of Medica
6. 8. Skin Research Center, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran



The color of the skin is highly heritable but can be influenced by the environments and endocrine factors. many other factors, sometimes destructive, are also involved in the formation of skin color, which sometimes affects pigmentation patterns. vitiligo is an autoimmune hypopigmentation painless disorder with appearance of white patches and psychological effects on patients. it is a disease in which melanocytes of the skin are destroyed in certain areas; therefore depigmentation appears. several therapeutic methods have been used to return the color of skin in vitiligo. these methods include non-invasive treatment and surgical techniques. among all these therapies, cellular cell transplantation is an advanced procedure in regenerative medicine, which, by extraction of melanocytes from normal skin and then their cultivation in the laboratory, provides us with a large number of these cells, the transplanting of which to depigmentation areas stimulates the site to irreversibly produce melanin. also, the transplantation methods of these cells have been evolved over many years and the methods of producing blister have been changed to the injection of these cells to the target sites. in this review, autologous cultured melanocyte transplantation has been considered to be the most viable, safe, and effective method in the history of vitiligo treatments.


This is a review article and although the method of autologous cultured melanocytes transplantion is fully described for the treatment of vitiligo, it does not include materials and methods.


This is a review article, and we studied 61 articles on vitiligo and its therapeutic approaches, and we found that cultured melanocyte transplantation could be an effective way of treating this disease in the future.


In summary, cellular transplantation has been a unique surgical technique in the last few decades to treat stable vitiligo in patients who did not respond to different therapies such as pharmacologic therapy, immunotherapy, phototherapy, photochemotherapy, and mini grafting. in many studies, more than 50% success has been observed, except for poor results in fingers, knees, and elbow areas. sustainability of this disease is an important factor in using this method because the presence of stimulant factors leads to a lack of proper response to this therapeutic approach. in this method, melanocytes are isolated from normal human skin and cultured in the medium then transplanted to recipient vitiliginous area, so we can cover large vitiliginous areas by using only a smaller donor skin, unlike the non-culture method that covers more limited parts. also, today due to the newer methods of sampling and transplantation, the complications of this therapeutic approach are less, for example, using lasers or syringe injection. there is no significant and statistical difference in this method of treatment between children and adults, so we can use this method for both groups. however, it is still possible to consider cultured melanocyte transplantation as the most viable method for the treatment of vitiligo.  


Vitiligo, melanocyte, melanocyte transplantation, autologous cultured melanocytes