The First School of Clinical Medicine, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, China
Department of Burn and Plastic Surgery, General Hospital of Southern Theater Command, PLA, Guangzhou, China
Department of Ophthalmology, Guangdong Women and Children Hospital, Guangzhou, China
Hyperpigmentation and hypopigmentation are two manifestations of skin pigmentation diseases. Recent studies have shown that autophagy is involved in the development of skin pigmentation diseases. The melanosome is a lysosome-related organelle characterized by the production of melanin. The autophagosome-lysosome degradation pathway exhibits a characteristic cell renewal function. The functions of melanosomes and autophagosomes intersect and the vesicle transport pathway mediates both autophagosome and melanosome formation, which may involve different regulatory protein complexes. Current studies have revealed that several autophagy-related regulators of autophagosome formation are involved in melanosome formation and maturation and also regulate melanogenesis, and that melanosomes can be degraded via autophagy in melanocytes. Autophagy is also involved in regulating the living environment of melanocytes. Understanding the effects of autophagy on pigmentation may support our understanding of pigmentation diseases. This article reviews the relationship between autophagy and pigmentation in melanocytes.