Hair dyes as a risk for autoimmunity: From systemic lupus erythematosus to primary biliary cirrhosis
Environmental and genetic factors appear to be involved in the pathogenesis of primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), a chronic cholestatic liver disease characterized by immune-mediated destruction of the small and medium sized intrahepatic bile ducts. Environmental factors include exposure to various infectious, xenobiotic and chemical compounds. These exposures may occur occupationally, through water or air contamination, pharmacological administration or by elective exposure, to name a few. Hair dyes are compounds that have been implicated in the development of several autoimmune diseases, including systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and PBC. So far, only epidemiological studies have addressed the role of hair dyes in PBC, with limited results. Hair dyes in SLE have been examined, and have recently demonstrated an association, both epidemiologically and immunologically. This follows a series of negative studies, which may not have taken into account several features of hair dye use. This review will examine the literature surrounding hair dye use and SLE, and compare this to data surrounding PBC. Treating physicians should be prepared for questions surrounding the need to take precautions against repeated hair dye use and this topic is discussed further. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.