Other Names for this Disease
- VKH syndrome
- Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada syndrome
- Uveomenigitic syndrome
- VKH disease
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Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada disease (VKH disease) is a condition that involves chronic inflammation of melanocytes, which are specialized cells that produce a pigment called melanin. Melanin is the substance that gives skin, hair, and eyes their color. Melanin is also found in the retina, where it plays a role in normal vision. People with VKH disease usually develop vision and hearing disturbances first, followed by signs of skin problems. The most common symptoms include headaches, panuveitis, vitiligo, hair loss (alopecia), and inner ear disturbances. Neurological symptoms may also occur. The exact cause of VKH disease is not well understood, but research suggests it is an autoimmune disease. It is more common in people with darker skin pigmentation including Asian, Middle Eastern, Hispanic, and Native American populations.
Last updated: 1/8/2015
- Choczaj-Kukula A.. Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada Syndrome. Emedicine. July 15, 2009; http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1118177-overview. Accessed 10/28/2010.
- Fang W, Yang P.. Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada. Current Eye Research. May, 2008; Accessed 10/28/2010.
- Olivier Calvetti, Caroline Laurent-Coriat, Michel Paques. VOGT-KOYANAGI-HARADA DISEASE. Orphanet. March, 2009; Accessed 1/12/2015.
- The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) has a report for patients and families about this condition. NORD is a patient advocacy organization for individuals with rare diseases and the organizations that serve them.
- Medscape Reference provides information on this topic. You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free.
- The Monarch Initiative brings together data about this condition from humans and other species to help physicians and biomedical researchers. Monarch’s tools are designed to make it easier to compare the signs and symptoms (phenotypes) of different diseases and discover common features. This initiative is a collaboration between several academic institutions across the world and is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Visit the website to explore the biology of this condition.
- Orphanet is a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs. Access to this database is free of charge.
- PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada disease. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.