Autoimmune markers in vitiligo patients appear correlated with obsession and phobia

S. Moretti, M. Arunachalam, R. Colucci, S. Pallanti, J. A. Kline, S. Berti, F. Lotti, T. Lotti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations


Background Current studies have treated a limited portion of the subjective aspects of vitiligo patients and have yet to elucidate possible psychological differences between those with autoimmune markers (AIM) with respect to those without autoimmune markers (NAIM). Objective To perform an age and gender-matched 1: 1 case-control study through a comparison of non-segmental vitiligo patients with autoimmune features vs. those without autoimmune features in regards to psychiatric features, psychosomatic aspects and social parameters. Methods A total of 112 non-segmental vitiligo patients have been examined at the Florence University dermatology outpatient service (2nd dermatology unit). Vitiligo with an autoimmune background was defined by the presence of autoimmune antibodies and/or autoimmune diseases. Psychiatric screening was performed by dermatologists using the modified Middlesex Healthcare Questionnaire (MHQ); psychosomatic aspects and social impact were analysed with a standardized, Florentine questionnaire. Results Upon performing a conditional regression model, age, phobia and obsession were significantly predictive of the presence of AIM and a low total MHQ score was significantly predictive of NAIM in vitiligo patients. With univariate analysis, we found significant differences in: identifiable stress related to the onset of vitiligo, vitiligo triggered by stress, and modified interpersonal relationships related to vitiligo, which were associated with the subgroup containing autoimmunity markers. Conclusions We found a higher prevalence of age, obsession and phobia among vitiligo patients AIM as compared to vitiligo patients NAIM. Thus, in the presence of demonstrated autoimmunity, screening for particular psychiatric aspects may be useful in the clinical practice of vitiligo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)861-867
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Infectious Diseases

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