Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Academy of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Kaunas, Lithuania
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune inflammatory disease, which presents as focal, partial or complete loss of scalp, beard or even entire body‘s hair.
Alopecia areata has been declared as an autoimmune disease with a mechanism of action similar to the pathogenesis of other autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, but effecting only the hair follicles. This disease does not cause symptoms such as iching, dryness, pain, ect., because the inflammatory process only presents at the hair follicles. During alopecia the hair growth cycle from the growing phase (anagen) to the resting phase (telogen) passes pathologically faster than in healthy individuals. Damage to the hair follicles is not ireversible, therefore is a possibility of a relapse.
Alopecia areata occurs worldwide. Morbidity rate does not correlate with race, age, lifestyle, but it is associated with genetic predisposition and other chronic diseases.
There are several treatment options available including topical, systemic approach and local injections. Unfortunately, treatment results are not satisfactory and remission occurs often. New preclinical and clinical trials are currently undergo to provide promising treatment for alopecia areata.
Keywords: alopecia areata, alopecia, alopecia totalis, minoxidil.