Alopecia areata: Pathogenesis, clinical features, diagnosis and practical management
Alopecia areata (AA) is an unpredictable, usually patchy, non-scarring hair loss condition affecting any hair-bearing surface. AA is generally felt to be mediated by T lymphocytes directed at hair follicles. The exact cause is unknown, but is likely to be an interaction between genetic and environmental factors. Within the past decade, there have been significant advances in our understanding of alopecia areata. Most recent research and future directions in alopecia areata originate from three major research workshops co-sponsored by the National Alopecia Areata Foundation (NAAF) and the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) in 1990, 1994 and 1998. At these meetings, numerous subspecialties, including immunologists, molecular biologists, biochemists, dermatologists, pathologists, and geneticists, discussed alopecia areata in an open forum. The proceedings of these meetings have been published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.1-3 This chapter will review the latest information on etiology, clinical features and state of the art treatment for AA.