Albinism pathophysiology

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Shadan Mehraban, M.D.[2]


Melanocytes are derived from neural crest ectoderm and are found in hair follicles, skin, eyes, and inner ear. Melanocytes produce melanin which protects skin from ultraviolet. Tyrosinase converts tyrosine to DOPA, dopaquinone, and then melanin. Mutation in Tyrosinase enzyme is responsible for causing albinism. Additionally, melanin is responsible for development of the fovea, optic nerves, optic tracts, and visual cortex.Decussation of some optic nerve fibers at optic chiasm are essential for binocular vision. However, in albinism, most of nerve fibers decussate at optic chiasm and cause monocluar vision presented as strabismus. In ocular albinism, macular pigment is absent and fovea hypoplasia leads to decreased visual acuity.





Associated Conditions

Microscopic Pathology

  • Macromelanosomes are seen in male patients with albinism and female carriers of OA1 [9]


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  2. 2.0 2.1 Adam MP, Ardinger HH, Pagon RA, Wallace SE, Bean LJH, Mirzaa G; et al. (1993). "GeneReviews®". PMID 20301683.
  3. Marçon CR, Maia M (2019). "Albinism: epidemiology, genetics, cutaneous characterization, psychosocial factors". An Bras Dermatol. 94 (5): 503–520. doi:10.1016/j.abd.2019.09.023. PMC 6857599 Check |pmc= value (help). PMID 31777350.
  4. Witkop CJ (1979). "Albinism: hematologic-storage disease, susceptibility to skin cancer, and optic neuronal defects shared in all types of oculocutaneous and ocular albinism". Ala J Med Sci. 16 (4): 327–30. PMID 546241.
  5. King RA, Summers CG (1988). "Albinism". Dermatol Clin. 6 (2): 217–28. PMID 3288382.
  6. Grønskov K, Ek J, Brondum-Nielsen K (2007). "Oculocutaneous albinism". Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2: 43. doi:10.1186/1750-1172-2-43. PMC 2211462. PMID 17980020.
  7. "Albinism - StatPearls - NCBI Bookshelf".
  8. Summers CG (2009). "Albinism: classification, clinical characteristics, and recent findings". Optom Vis Sci. 86 (6): 659–62. doi:10.1097/OPX.0b013e3181a5254c. PMID 19390472.
  9. Schmoldt A, Benthe HF, Haberland G (1975). "Digitoxin metabolism by rat liver microsomes". Biochem Pharmacol. 24 (17): 1639–41. PMID Check |pmid= value (help).

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