Saturday, 30 June 2007

Peptide treatment for white patch disease or vitiligo

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, June 30: City scientists have developed a group of chemical peptides that will help in treating vitiligo, the "white patch disease", and controlling wrinkles, the symbol of ageing.
The molecules were developed using the DNA recombinant technology. They have the ability to remove the disfiguring white patches from the body even while controlling formation of wrinkles. They also have essential "anti-wrinkle" properties and hides the age of people.
Vitiligo is caused when melanocytes, the cells that give colour or pigmentation to skin, are lost. This leads to white patches on mainly the exposed parts of the body. Vitiligo often causes hypo or hyper thyroidism, diabetes and anaemia, not only disfiguring the body but also affecting its physiological functions.
The pioneering work has been jointly carried out by the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology and Celestial Laboratories. A drug is being prepared based on the research work. These peptides are chemically synthesised and tested for their efficacy in cell cultures. Four of these peptides showed profound effect as mitogens of melanocytes. They induced melanosome differentiation and migration.
A group of researchers led by Dr Ch Mohan Rao of the CCMB has synthesised oligonucleotides following the amino acid sequence of the effective mutein peptides. They are later cloned for strong promotion and expression.
"There is evidence that the presence of pro-opomelanocortin peptides are responsible in regulation of skin tan in humans. A few of the melanotropic peptides have been identified from human placental preparations that are known to have melanogenic potential or ability to give skin its colour," says AN Singh of Celestial Labs.
Vitiligo is a major concern in developing countries especially in India where, in the western zone the prevalence is as high as eight per cent.
World surveys show a similar prevalence in Mexico and Japan. The global prevalence is observed to be around three per cent.
Presently vitiligo is treated temporarily with make-ups. Medication has thus far proved futile with no satisfactory results.
Optimisation of protein induction is in procedure. Once the recombinant peptide is expressed in sufficient quantities the peptide will be purified and will be used for further studies.

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