Adaptability of melanocytes post ultraviolet stimulation in patients with melasma

Yen Jen Wang, Chang Cheng Chang*, Yu Hung Wu, Ling Huang, Jia Wei Shen, Meng En Lu, Hsiu Mei Chiang, Bor Shyh Lin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Dynamic in vivo changes in melanin in melasma lesions after exposure to ultraviolet (UV) irradiation have not been described. Objectives: To determine whether melasma lesions and nearby perilesions demonstrated different adaptive responses to UV irradiation and whether the tanning responses were different among different locations on face. Methods: We collected sequential images from real-time cellular resolution full-field optical coherence tomography (CRFF-OCT) at melasma lesions and perilesions among 20 Asian patients. Quantitative and layer distribution analyses for melanin were performed using a computer-aided detection (CADe) system that utilizes spatial compounding-based denoising convolutional neural networks. Results: The detected melanin (D) is melanin with a diameter >0.5 µm, among which confetti melanin (C) has a diameter of >3.3 µm and corresponds to a melanosome-rich package. The calculated C/D ratio is proportional to active melanin transportation. Before UV exposure, melasma lesions had more detected melanin (p = 0.0271), confetti melanin (p = 0.0163), and increased C/D ratio (p = 0.0152) in the basal layer compared to those of perilesions. After exposure to UV irradiation, perilesions have both increased confetti melanin (p = 0.0452) and the C/D ratio (p = 0.0369) in basal layer, and this effect was most prominent in right cheek (p = 0.030). There were however no significant differences in the detected, confetti, or granular melanin areas before and after exposure to UV irradiation in melasma lesions in all the skin layers. Conclusions: Hyperactive melanocytes with a higher baseline C/D ratio were noted in the melasma lesions. They were “fixed” on the plateau and were not responsive to UV irradiation regardless of the location on face. Perilesions retained adaptability with a dynamic response to UV irradiation, in which more confetti melanin was shed, mainly in the basal layer. Therefore, aggravating effect of UV on melasma was mainly due to UV-responsive perilesions rather than lesions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)680-689
Number of pages10
JournalLasers in Surgery and Medicine
Volume55
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2023

Keywords

  • in vivo imaging
  • melanin
  • melanocytes
  • melasma
  • optical coherence tomography
  • skin pigmentation

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