Modeling Microbial Impact on Autoimmune Depigmentation in Mice
We reported that prolonged exposure to oral antibiotics drives the kinetics of depigmentation in vitiligo-prone mice. Loss of color was associated with a depletion of melanocytes, and with marked changes to the gut microbiome. At end point, we observed altered T cell dynamics, affecting the location and activation of T cells. This prompted further investigations to understand whether topical antibiotics might likewise affect pigment loss. Indeed, short-term topical treatments did influence vitiligo development. The outcomes show that antibiotics affect both the microbiome and T cell mediated immune responses to melanocytes. With a role for the microbiome now established for several skin conditions, we now want to probe lifestyle influences on the microbiome in vitiligo. Findings by ourselves and others suggest that healthy skin is associated with a favorable microbial composition in the gut. Dietary or metabolic factors can disrupt a healthy gut. Indeed, enhanced stress, hypertension and potential hyperlipidemia among patients can impact the microbiome and potentially support depigmentation. In patients, our knowledge of environmental influences on human depigmentation is slow to emerge given the significant variation among patients, but a concerted effort among IVF enthusiasts to capture the data can accelerate findings with the potential to support therapeutic outcomes in future clinical trials.
Dr Caroline Le Poole serves as the CSO for Temprian Therapeutics, a startup company currently focused on bringing modified HSP70i to patients as a potential treatment for vitiligo. The current presentation is separate from Caroline’s role in Temprian Therapeutics.
This abstract can be found in the 2021 VIS Invited and Oral Speakers Abstract book.