SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.103 issue12Testing for haemoglobinopathies in Johannesburg, South Africa: A 30-year review author indexsubject indexarticles search
Home Pagealphabetic serial listing  

Services on Demand



Related links

  • On index processCited by Google
  • On index processSimilars in Google


SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
Print version ISSN 0256-9574


MANGA, P; KERR, R; RAMSAY, M  and  KROMBERG, J G R. Biology and genetics of oculocutaneous albinism and vitiligo - common pigmentation disorders in southern Africa. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2013, vol.103, n.12, pp.984-988. ISSN 2078-5135.

Pigmentation disorders span the genetic spectrum from single-gene autosomal recessive disorders such as oculocutaneous albinism (OCA), the autosomal dominant disorder piebaldism to X-linked ocular albinism and multifactorial vitiligo. OCA connotes a group of disorders that result in hypopigmented skin due to decreased melanin production in melanocytes and loss of visual acuity. There are four non-syndromic forms, OCA1-4, which are classified based on the gene that is mutated (tyrosinase, OCA2, tyrosinase-related protein 1 and SLC45A2, respectively). Despite the fact that multiple genes account for the various forms of OCA, the phenotypes of all four forms result from disruption in the maturation and trafficking of the enzyme tyrosinase. OCA2 is the most prevalent autosomal recessive disorder among southern African blacks, affecting 1/3 900 individuals; while OCA3, although rare, is most prevalent in southern Africa. Another common pigmentation disorder in southern Africa is vitiligo, which affects 1 - 2% of people worldwide. Vitiligo is a complex, acquired disorder in which melanocytes are destroyed due to an autoimmune response. The aetiology underlying this disorder is poorly understood, although recent genetic association studies have begun to shed light on the contributing factors. Pigmentation disorders have significant psychosocial implications and co-morbidities, yet therapies are still lacking. Recent progress in our understanding of the pathobiology of both albinism and vitiligo may herald novel treatment strategies for these disorders.

        · text in English     · English ( pdf )


Creative Commons License All the contents of this journal, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License