We used patch testing to compare the ability to elicit contact sensitivity to dinitrochlorobenzene (DNCB) of uninvolved with vitiliginous skin of 31 patients with vitiligo. The induction of DNCB contact sensitivity was possible in the vitiliginous skin in the same way as in normal skin. The DNCB contact sensitivity reactions, however, were generally diminished in vitiliginous skin, although the number of cases showing similar DNCB contact reactivity between normal and vitiliginous skin increased when the sensitization procedure was performed in vitiliginous skin instead of normal skin. On the other hand, delayed skin reactions to intradermally injected Candida albicans antigen were not suppressed in vitiliginous skin. The number of Langerhans' cells was not decreased in vitiliginous skin as compared with that of normal skin. The epidermal cells derived from vitiliginous skin, however, tended to show a lower stimulatory effect in the allogeneic mixed skin cell lymphocyte culture reaction than those from normal skin. These results suggest a possibility of functional impairment of Langerhans' cells in vitiliginous skin.
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