A melanocyte is a type of skin cell located in the basal layer of the epidermis. Melanocytes produce melanin, a brown pigment that is responsible for skin coloration and protecting against the harmful effects of UV light. Melanocytes are primarily located in the epidermis, although they are also present in the hair and in the irises of the eyes.
The melancytes is a special cells produce melanin, melanin will be delivered to surrounding cutin formative cells. Melanin can protect the formative cells nucleus, and prevent chromosome damaged by light radiating. In normal epidermis, one melancyte is related to forty cutin formative cells known as epidermal melanin forming unit. Skin’s color is determined by the melanin in the cutin formative cells. Generally to say, the skin color will deeper if the are more melanin and it will be more protective. But research found that there is no much difference about the amount of melancytes among various races.
The pathogenesis of the vitiligo is related to loss large amount of melanin. Amount of the melanin not only decides skin color but also it may relate to the occurrence of the vitiligo. The skin have some pigment is because of presence of melancytes. The melancytes known as a gland cells that secrete melanin. But the melanin structure is very complicated, the formation of the melanin is based on the tyrosine, tyrosinase. During the process of the synthesis, movement, and degeneration of the melancytes, it will affect the metabolism of melancytes if any of steps is wrong. So the melancytes play a very important role to cause vitiligo.