A cross-sectional study of the histopathology and immunology of alopecia areata: Unearthing the role of the Janus kinase-signal transducer and activator of transcription pathway.Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. 2019 Sep-Oct; 85(5):455-461.IJ
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease that occurs as a result of the loss of the inherent immune privilege of the hair follicle. It has been recently demonstrated that the interferon-γ/interleukin-15 feedback loop that signals via the Janus kinase-signal transducer and activator of transcription pathway is critical to the breakdown of this immune privilege.
To evaluate the immunological distribution of CD4+ T-cells, CD8+ T-cells, phosphorylated signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 and study its relation with the clinical and histopathological findings of the disease.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
A total of 30 patients of alopecia areata were included in the study. Following a detailed history and clinical examination, a scalp biopsy was performed. Histopathology was studied and immunohistochemistry was done to demonstrate the positivity and distribution of CD4+ T-cells, CD8+ T-cells and phosphorylated signal transducer and activator of transcription 1.
The follicular count, number of anagen and terminal hair were found to be decreased, whereas the catagen, telogen and vellus hair were found to be increased in number. A peribulbar CD4+ T-cell infiltrate was seen in 70% cases, whereas a CD8+ T-cell infiltrate was seen in 83.3% cases. An intrabulbar CD4+ T-cell infiltrate was seen in 26.7% cases, whereas a CD8+ T-cell infiltrate was seen in 70% cases. Among the 25 hair follicles dermal papilla identified, 36.8% cases were found to be positive for phospho-signal transducer and activation of transcription-1.
The drawbacks of our study included a small sample size and the use of only vertical sectioning for the scalp biopsy samples.
Phosphorylated signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 positivity as an indicator of signalling via the Janus kinase-1/2 pathway was seen in 36.8% of our cases highlighting the integral role of this pathway in the pathogenesis of alopecia areata.