The development of human melanocyte culture in vitro from normal adult skin and uninvolved skin of vitiligo patients is essential to investigate the mechanism of depigmentation in vitiligo and other pigmentary dermatoses. By using selective growth and long-term maintenance conditions, we selectively cultured melanocytes derived from normal foreskins and arm skins, and uninvolved foreskins and arm skins of vitiligo patients. The melanocytes of the arm skins were successfully cultured from the roofs of suction blisters. Melanocyte Growth Media (MGM) consisting of MCDB-153 formulation with basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), bovine pituitary extract (BPE), insulin, hydrocortisone, phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) and 10% human AB serum was sufficient to grow the melanocytes from normal and vitiligo donors. Melanocytes from uninvolved skin of vitiligo donors showed no different morphologic features, initial seeding capacity and population doubling time compared with those from normal skin. Melanocytes from both cell types grew without any lag period for more than 6 months (6-11 passages). Melanocytes obtained from foreskins had higher initial seeding capacity and shorter population doubling time than those obtained from arm skins using suction-blistered roofs. Our results suggest that the culture method using suction blisters may be a simple and easy way to obtain melanocytes. In addition, vitiligo melanocytes can be successfully cultured with appropriate growth conditions and may show no defective growth patterns. This culture system will be applied to investigate the basic pathophysiology of vitiligo and other various pigmentary dermatoses.
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