Background: Diffuse hyperpigmentation is common in patients with chronic renal failure undergoing hemodialysis (HD) or peritoneal dialysis (PD). We previously reported that serum levels of 5-S-cysteinyldopa (5SCD, a pheomelanin precursor) and pheomelanin were significantly elevated in HD patients. Methods: Skin color was assessed using a Mexameter that measures the melanin index (MI) and the erythema index (EI). The upper inner arms (non-sun-exposed site) and the foreheads (sun-exposed site) of HD and PD patients and control subjects were analyzed. Results: MI values on the upper inner arms and on the foreheads of HD and PD patients were significantly higher than in controls. In HD patients, significant correlations were found for serum 5SCD levels with MI and EI on the upper inner arm, and for EI on the forehead. In PD patients, no such correlations were found. Conclusions: Hyperpigmentation in HD patients results partly from accumulation of pheomelanin in the skin.
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