New research has revealed eye colour could be linked to vitiligo.
A study of nearly 3,000 non-Hispanic Americans of European descent has found people with blue eyes are less likely to have vitiligo. Researchers also identified 13 new genes that may predispose people to the condition.
Among the people studied with vitiligo:
- 27% had blue or gray eyes, compared with 52% of Americans of European descent without the condition.
- 43% had tan or brown €eyes vs. 27%.
- 30% had green or hazel eyes vs. 22%.
“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.”
“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.”
The study’s authors concluded that as researchers learn more about the genes associated with vitiligo, they may learn more about the genes involved in other autoimmune diseases as well as melanoma.