Skin pigmentation and pigmentary disorders: Focus on epidermal/dermal cross-talk

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Variation in human skin and hair color is the most notable aspect of human variability and several studies in evolution, genetics and developmental biology contributed to explain the mechanisms underlying human skin pigmentation, which is responsible for differences in skin color across the world's populations. Despite skin pigmentation is primarily related to melanocytes functionality, the surrounding keratinocytes and extracellular matrix proteins and fibroblasts in the underlying dermal compartment actively contribute to cutaneous homeostasis. Many autocrine/paracrine secreted factors and cell adhesion mechanisms involving both epidermal and dermal constituents determine constitutive skin pigmentation and, whenever deregulated, the occurrence of pigmentary disorders. In particular, an increased expression of such mediators and their specific receptors frequently lead to hyperpigmentary conditions, such as in melasma and in solar lentigo, whereas a defect in their expression/release is related to hypopigmented disorders, as seen in vitiligo. All these interactions underline the relevant role of pigmentation on human evolution and biology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-289
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of Dermatology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2016


  • Dermal/epidermal cross-talk
  • Growth factors
  • Melasma
  • Pigmentation
  • Solar lentigo
  • Vitiligo

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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