Vitiligo is a chronic autoimmune disease involving white patches of pigmentless skin on various parts of the body.
The researchers found that vitiligo was highly associated with other autoimmune diseases, including thyroid disease, pernicious anemia, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, lupus, Addison's disease, and adult-onset autoimmune diabetes. The researchers then were able to identify a particular gene that makes people more suspectible to vitligo and other autoimmune diseases, particularly autoimmune thyroid disease.
The study is discussed in depth in the March 22, 2007 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, and more information on vitiligo is available at the About.com site on skin disorders.
Source: Jin, Ying M.D., Ph.D., et. al. "NALP1 in Vitiligo-Associated Multiple Autoimmune Disease," NEJM, Volume 356:1216-1225, March 22, 2007 Number 12, Online abstract