Nitric oxide (NO) is a reactive endogenous molecule with multiple functions including inflammation and immunity. NO stimulates melanogenesis by activating soluble guanylyl cyclase (sGC) resulting in increases in intracellular guanosine 3',5'-cyclic monophosphate (cGMP). In vitro experiments showed that NO could inhibit the de novo attachment of melanocytes to extracellular matrix (ECM) suggesting that NO-induced aberrant perturbation of melanocyte-ECM interaction could be a reason for melanocyte loss in vitiliginous lesions. Here, we examined whether there might be differences between normal melanocytes and vitiliginous melanocytes (VMs) with respect to NO-induced detachment from ECM and whether cGMP is involved. We used the direct NO donor (Z)-1-[N-(3-ammoniopropyl)-N-(n-propyl)amino]diazen-1-ium-1,2-diolate and the peroxynitrite donor 3-morpholino-sydnonimine for the present studies. These donors induced detachment of both normal melanocytes and non-lesional VMs in a time- and concentration-dependent manner with comparable susceptibility and similar expression profile of sGC. Treatment of melanocytes with caspase inhibitors reduced cell detachment, indicating that a major part of the detachment is due to apoptosis. The NO-induced detachment but not apoptosis was partly inhibited in the presence of sGC and cGMP-dependent protein kinase inhibitors. In addition, the membrane-permeable cGMP analog 8-(4-chlorophenyethio/guanosine-3',5'-cyclic monophosphate (PCPT) cGMP was not able to induce apoptosis in melanocytes, suggesting that NO-induced detachment of melanocytes via apoptosis is cGMP-independent. The present results also indicate that there are no apparent differences between NO-induced detachment of non-lesional vitiliginous and normal melanocytes from ECM.