Researchers of M S University’s Department of Biochemistry have identified the prevalence of a DNA sequence variation that makes Gujaratis susceptible to vitiligo, a skin disorder in which white patches of skin appear on different parts of the body.
Gujarat and Rajasthan are known to have highest prevalence of vitiligo. It affects over eight percent of the population in Gujarat making it one of the highest in the country. Major reasons for these skin disorder are oxidative stress (imbalance between oxidants and in-oxidants in the body), neural and genetic factors.
“As part of our studies, we screened genetic samples of over 1,500 vitiligo patients from across Gujarat and found that it is because of SNP that Gujaratis are more vulnerable to this disease. Out of the total screened samples, 908 samples were of women,” said professor Rasheedunnisa Begum, whose study is supported by the Indian Council of Medical Research and Gujarat State Biotechnology Mission, Gandhinagar.
Presently, vitiligo is diagnosed through physical examination, medical history and laboratory tests. Vitiligo is incurable but presently light treatment or excimer laser treatments are used to control the spread of the disease on a patient’s body.
After identifying the DNA sequence variation, MSU researchers are hoping that their study will lead to development of personalized medicines for patients suffering from the skin disorder.
“Findings of our research will lead to development of personalised medicine which can control the spread of vitiligo which is incurable. Personalised medicines can be developed based on the stage of disease in individual patients, duration of the disease, the number of patches on an individual’s body and a few biochemical parameters,” said Begum, who has published over 30 national and international papers on vitiligo.