Antioxidants and narrow band-UVB in the treatment of vitiligo: A double-blind placebo controlled trial

M. L. Dell'Anna, A. Mastrofrancesco, R. Sala, M. Venturini, M. Ottaviani, A. P. Vidolin, G. Leone, P. G. Calzavara, W. Westerhof, M. Picardo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. Vitiligo is an acquired depigmenting disease with uncertain aetiopathogenesis, possibly associated with oxidative stress. Narrowband ultraviolet B phototherapy (NB-UVB) is the most widely used and effective treatment. Aim. To evaluate the clinical effectiveness of NB-UVB and the repairing of oxidative stress-induced damage, using oral supplementation with an antioxidant pool (AP). Methods. Patients (n = 35) with nonsegmental vitiligo were enrolled in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled multicentre trial. The treatment group received, for 2 months before and for 6 months during the NB-UVB treatment, a balanced AP containing α-lipoic acid, vitamins C and E, and polyunsaturated fatty acids. The area and number of lesions, as well as some parameters of the oxidation-reduction (redox) status of the peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were estimated at the beginning, after 2 months, and at the end of the trial. Results. In total, 28 patients completed the study. After 2 months of AP supplementation, the catalase activity and the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) were 121% and 57% of the basal values (P <0.05 and P <0.02 vs. placebo, respectively). The AP increased the therapeutic success of NB-UVB, with 47% of the patients obtaining > 75% repigmentation vs. 18% in the placebo group (P <0.05). An increase in catalase activity to 114% (P <0.05 vs. placebo) and decrease in ROS level of up to 60% (P <0.02 vs. placebo) of the basal value was observed in PBMCs. Finally, the AP intake maintained the membrane lipid ratio (saturated : unsaturated fatty acids 1.8 : 3.1; P <0.05), counteracting phototherapy-induced saturation. Conclusions. Oral supplementation with AP containing α-lipoic acid before and during NB-UVB significantly improves the clinical effectiveness of NB-UVB, reducing vitiligo-associated oxidative stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)631-636
Number of pages6
JournalClinical and Experimental Dermatology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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