Class of 2026
- "An overview on the effect of NALP1 on inflammatory pathways in vitiligo" with mentor Karla (Dec. 2, 2023)
An overview on the effect of NALP1 on inflammatory pathways in vitiligo
Started May 25, 2023
Abstract or project description
Vitiligo is a skin disorder caused by the loss of melanocytes, the cells responsible for producing melanin. The loss of melanocytes results in the appearance of depigmented patches on the skin. The disease affects approximately 1-2% of the global population and does not show a preference for any specific age group or gender. The loss of melanin in the affected areas occurs due to the abnormal apoptosis, or cell death, of melanocytes. Vitiligo is classified as an autoimmune condition, in which the adaptive immune system becomes inappropriately activated and autoreactive CD8+ T cells mistakenly target and attack the body’s own melanocytes. To this day, we lack a clear understanding of why the body specifically targets melanocytes and identifies them as foreign cells, mounting an immune response against them and activating a cell death program towards the melanin producing agents. One recently identified candidate that has been implicated in the vitiligo immune response is the NLRP1 gene. NLRP1 is a crucial gene involved in the innate immune response, it codes for a protein that is associated with the regulation of inflammation. This gene plays a significant role in the assembly of the NALP1 inflammasome, which is a multiprotein complex that activates inflammatory pathways in response to cellular damage caused by stress or infection. Research studies have revealed that there are differences in the NALP1 expression and function in individuals affected by vitiligo, suggesting its potential involvement in the pathogenesis of the disease.