Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Eye color may indicate risk for serious skin conditions

Date:
May 6, 2012
Source:
University of Colorado Denver
Summary:
Eye color may be an indicator of whether a person is high-risk for certain serious skin conditions. A new study shows people with blue eyes are less likely to have vitiligo.

Eye color may be an indicator of whether a person is high-risk for certain serious skin conditions. A study, led by the University of Colorado School of Medicine, shows people with blue eyes are less likely to have vitiligo. It then follows, according to scientists, that people with brown eyes may be less likely to have melanoma. Vitiligo is an autoimmune skin disease in which pigment loss results in irregular white patches of skin and hair. Melanoma is the most dangerous kind of skin cancer.

The study is published online by the journal Nature Genetics. It looked at almost 3,000 people with vitiligo of Non-Hispanic European ancestry, identifying 13 new genes that predispose to vitiligo. Among the vitiligo patients, approximately 27 percent had blue/gray eyes, 43 percent had tan or brown eyes and 30 percent had green or hazel eyes, which is significantly different from the normal distribution of eye color where approximately 52 percent of Americans of Non-Hispanic European ancestry have blue/gray eyes, 22 percent have green/hazel eyes, and 27 percent have tan or brown eyes.

Richard Spritz, MD, is director of the Human Medical Genetics and Genomics Program at the CU School of Medicine, the coordinating center for the research. Spritz said the study primarily looked at vitiligo but also has implications for melanoma.

"Genetically, in some ways vitiligo and melanoma are polar opposites. Some of the same genetic variations that make one more likely to have vitiligo make one less likely to have melanoma, and vice-versa," said Spritz. "Vitiligo is an autoimmune disease, in which a person's immune system attacks their normal pigment cells. We think that vitiligo represents over-activity of a normal process by which one's immune system searches out and destroys early cancerous melanoma cells."

People with vitiligo are at higher risk for various other autoimmune diseases, such as thyroid disease, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Vitiligo patients' close relatives also are at higher risk for these same diseases, even if they don't have vitiligo. Spritz said this means there must be some genes that push towards these autoimmune diseases in general, while other genes and environmental triggers determine which autoimmune disease occurs and when. So, as scientists learn about the genetics of vitiligo, they also are learning about the genetics of these other autoimmune diseases.

The study was funded by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases of the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Colorado Denver. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ying Jin, Stanca A Birlea, Pamela R Fain, Tracey M Ferrara, Songtao Ben, Sheri L Riccardi, Joanne B Cole, Katherine Gowan, Paulene J Holland, Dorothy C Bennett, Rosalie M Luiten, Albert Wolkerstorfer, J P Wietze van der Veen, Anke Hartmann, Saskia Eichner, Gerold Schuler, Nanja van Geel, Jo Lambert, E Helen Kemp, David J Gawkrodger, Anthony P Weetman, Alain Taοeb, Thomas Jouary, Khaled Ezzedine, Margaret R Wallace, Wayne T McCormack, Mauro Picardo, Giovanni Leone, Andreas Overbeck, Nanette B Silverberg, Richard A Spritz. Genome-wide association analyses identify 13 new susceptibility loci for generalized vitiligo. Nature Genetics, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/ng.2272

Cite This Page:

University of Colorado Denver. "Eye color may indicate risk for serious skin conditions." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120506160115.htm>.
University of Colorado Denver. (2012, May 6). Eye color may indicate risk for serious skin conditions. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120506160115.htm
University of Colorado Denver. "Eye color may indicate risk for serious skin conditions." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120506160115.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) — The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) — Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

AFP (July 24, 2014) — America's death penalty debate raged Thursday after it took nearly two hours for Arizona to execute a prisoner who lost a Supreme Court battle challenging the experimental lethal drug cocktail. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) — A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:  

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile iPhone Android Web
          Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins