Ectodermal dysplasia is an inherited condition, characterized by the defective development of the skin and its appendages, namely hair, sebaceous glands, nails and other structures.
The typical presentation of a person born with ectodermal dysplasia may involve many of the following characteristics:
- Extremely fine and fragile hair, often light in color, that is dispersed across the head. Alopecia is a common feature and may be accompanied by inflammation. In the same manner, facial hair (eg. eyebrows) are also scanty or absent.
- Anomalies of the teeth are also typical: teeth have irregular shapes and are often pointed towards the ends. Enamel is dysplastic and many patients fail to grow the normal amount of teeth.
- Onychodystrophia is also a frequent manifestation. Nails may be irregular in shape, too thick or even absent. The tissues adjacent to the nails are often susceptible to infection.
- Abnormally developed or absent major sweat glands. This feature can threaten the lives of newborns, since failure to sweat leads to an increased body temperature, fever and neurological complications. Depending on whether the sweat glands are reduced in numbers, underdeveloped or completely absent, an individual may be able to produce reduced amounts of sweat (hypohidrosis) or no sweat (anhidrosis).
- Skin hamartomas or skin cancer of various subtypes
- Acanthosis nigricans
- Systemic involvement
Hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia is the most common type of ectodermal dysplasia. Apart from the aforementioned typical characteristics concerning the hair, teeth and nails, these individuals do not produce the adequate amount of sweat to achieve the necessary detoxification and temperature regulation. other than that, they exhibit a characteristic appearance with hollowed cheeks, thick lips, and creased skin around the eyes. On the other hand, hidrotic ectodermal dysplasia is one of the syndromes inherited in an autosomal dominant manner, evincing a distinct predilection for people of French-Canadian descent.   . Patients exhibit no irregularities in the production of sweat, but may have conjoined fingers or more than 5 fingers in each hand.
Entire Body System
Postmortem blood culture was positive for group B streptococcus, a possible etiology for fever. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
After birth, a skin biopsy can be performed in children whose appearance or periodic fever raises suspicion for the condition. [symptoma.com]
In children with the disease, their bodies may have a problem controlling fevers. Even a mild illness can produce an extremely high fever, because the skin cannot sweat and control temperature properly. [nlm.nih.gov]
Baby developed an episode of hyperthermia on day 2 of life as the environmental temperature was high, however, there was no dehydration. Baby was managed for hyperthermia. [digitmedicine.com]
Diagnosis of such cases is important because absence of sweat glands can lead to hyperthermia which can be life-threatening if proper care is not taken. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
Prognosis Among males with hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia, unrecognized episodes of hyperthermia are a dangerous complication. [encyclopedia.com]
- Weight Gain
By contrast, the skin structure, skeleton phenotype, body weight gain and growth of Hoxc13 knockout pigs were apparently normal. The phenotypes of Hoxc13 mutation in pigs were similar to those in ED-9 patients. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
Weight gain issues, too. Hearing loss. This can lead to delays in learning to talk. Missing or unusually shaped nails. Skin erosion. This is loss of skin in some areas. It can be life-threatening in infants. Teeth problems. [webmd.com]
[…] significantly over time suggest that weight gains lagged behind height gains through adolescence. [pediatrics.aappublications.org]
- Feeding Difficulties
difficulties, particularly in young children who have the ED syndromes and missing or deformed teeth. 28 In a previous report from the NFED, feeding problems were identified in 32 of 47 boys with HED, and 19 of those identified had failure to thrive. [pediatrics.aappublications.org]
- Fever of Unknown Origin
The most common symptoms of XLHED are the following: Significant decrease in sweating or hypohidrosis that can lead to heat intolerance, hyperthermia, or unexplained fevers/fevers of unknown origin in infancy that can rarely lead to febrile seizures Tooth [clinicaladvisor.com]
- Failure to Thrive
When Your Child is Diagnosed with Failure to Thrive Finding Her Voice and Rediscovering Her Tribe I Wanna Ask Santa for Teeth No Human Is Limited Featured Partner: EspeRare Building on years of XLHED research studies, our partnership with EspeRare is [nfed.org]
Feeding issues, weight deficits, and failure to thrive can be seen in affected infants and children. [clinicaladvisor.com]
Failure to thrive may be observed. The AD and AR forms affect both sexes equally. [orpha.net]
Prognosis: Failure to thrive occurs in up to 40% of affected males Height and weight are compromised in early childhood but appear to normalize with time. Mortality in infancy and early childhood is historically 25% Due to hyper thermia, failure [slideshare.net]
Jaw & Teeth
- Selective Tooth Agenesis
The WNT10A gene in ectodermal dysplasias and selective tooth agenesis. Am J Med Genet A. 2014 Oct. 164A (10):2455-60. [Medline]. Tziotzios C, Petrof G, Liu L, Verma A, Wedgeworth EK, Mellerio JE, et al. [emedicine.medscape.com]
- Delayed Dentition
Berlin syndrome : Generalized grayish-brown hyperpigmentation with Sparse eyebrows with absent lateral aspect, delayed dentition/hypodontia, short stature, sexual underdevelopment in male patients, mental retardation Described in one family (Iranians [slideshare.net]
[…] in hair, teeth, nail and sweat gland function, her ectodermal dysplasia fits in 1-2-3-4 subgroup. [dx.doi.org]
[…] to lack of sweat glands (anhidrosis or hypohidrosis). [digitmedicine.com]
Depending on whether the sweat glands are reduced in numbers, underdeveloped or completely absent, an individual may be able to produce reduced amounts of sweat (hypohidrosis) or no sweat (anhidrosis). [symptoma.com]
Diagnosis of such cases is important because absence of sweat glands can lead to hyperthermia which can be life-threatening if proper care is not taken. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
Ectodermal dysplasias are rare conditions with a triad of hypotrichosis, anodontia and anhidrosis. In literature review there have been only a few reports of anesthetic management of patients with ectodermal dysplasias. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
Babies with anhidrosis/hypohidrosis should be advised air conditioning at home, school, and work, frequent consumption of cool liquids, and wear cool clothing to maintain hydration and temperature. [digitmedicine.com]
[…] on an 11-year-old female patient with anhidrotic ectodermal dysplasia (AED) showing the following characteristics: (1) reduced number of hair follicles and incomplete formation of sweat glands; (2) disturbed hair growth with shortening of anagen and anhidrosis [link.springer.com]
- Dry Skin
Odonto-onycho-dermal dysplasia (OODD) is a rare form of ectodermal dysplasia characterized by severe oligodontia, onychodysplasia, palmoplantar hyperkeratosis, dry skin, hypotrichosis, and hyperhidrosis of the palms and soles. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
Definition An autosomal dominant syndrome characterized by atrial and/or ventricular septal congenital heart defects and variable features of ectodermal dysplasia, including sparse hair, dry skin, thin skin, fragile nails, premature loss of primary teeth [uniprot.org]
Diagnosis • Absence of teeth with dry skin is valuable aid in the diagnosis of ectodermal dysplasia • Reduction in the height of alveolar bone 7. [slideshare.net]
Eruption of the teeth may be delayed, or only a few teeth may erupt. [nfed.org]
Due to growth and tooth eruption abnormalities, it is recommended that dental treatment begin when an Ectodermal Dysplasia in the oral area is first diagnosed. [sddis.com]
H/AED patients tended to present with atopic dermatitis-like eruptions with characteristics potentially indicative of periorbital lesions. Atopic diathesis in H/AED appeared not to be associated with filaggrin. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
Four cases of hereditary hypertrophy of nail-bed associated with a history of erupted teeth at birth. Br. J. Dermatol. 33: 409-411. [ Links ] Pinheiro, M. and Freire-Maia, N. (1994). [scielo.br]
Diagnostic methods The diagnosis is often established after hyperthermic episodes or with delayed teeth eruption. Lack of sweat glands can be evidenced by a skin biopsy or non-invasively by confocal microscopy or graphite prints of feet/hands. [orpha.net]
[…] bossing, small chin, depressed/low nasal bridge, prominent lips, periorbital/periocular wrinkling, and hyperpigmentation Increased incidence of atopy, including eczema, wheezing, asthma, and food allergy Dry, thin, smooth, pale skin with associated pruritus [clinicaladvisor.com]
Face, Head & Neck
- Thick Lips
He presented with a large head, a depressed nasal bridge, low-set ears, thick lips with peg-shaped teeth, hypohidrosis, sparse hair, thin atrophic skin, scaly dermatitis with frontal bossing, and a bulging anterior fontanel. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
lips, and creased skin around the eyes. [symptoma.com]
Some people with hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia have distinctive facial features, including a prominent forehead, thick lips, and a flattened bridge of the nose. [ghr.nlm.nih.gov]
In families with a medical history of ectodermal dysplasia, genetic testing may help to achieve a diagnosis of the condition before birth. Should the specific mutation be known, direct analysis can help to illustrate whether the child is affected or not. Chorionic villus sampling can also be of use, because a linkage analysis can be applied to determine the existence of an ectodermal dysplasia.
After birth, a skin biopsy can be performed in children whose appearance or periodic fever raises suspicion for the condition. The absence of eccrine glands or the presence of hypoplastic glands usually points to the direction of ectodermal dysplasia. Pore sweat counts can also be performed. Plain radiographs of the limbs can illustrate skeletal deformities and an orthopantography can examine the teeth, in order to detect possible anomalies. If a patient is affected by an ectodermal dysplasia syndrome with immunodeficiency, they have to be monitored closely for a potentially reduced concentration of immunoglobulins, a defective lymphocyte proliferation and T-cell immunity.
Patients with ectodermal dysplasia receive supportive treatment, since the conditions cannot be cured.
More specifically, patients can benefit from an assessment by an orthodontist or dentist specializing in prosthetics, since the latter can be used to restore a normal appearance of their teeth. Children should follow a responsible dental hygiene plan  . Patients who display inability to produce the adequate amount of sweat due to hypoplasia of the eccrine glands should be encouraged to use air conditioning electronics, wear clothes that allow for the body to be cooled and consume liquids in order to compensate for the failure of the natural homeostatic mechanism. Alopecia can be treated with the local administration of minoxidil products and the skin should always by maintained moist, with the use of creams and emollients . Antibiotics, either per os or applied locally can also help to prevent infection in people with dermatitis; frequent infections may also be experienced by patients who have a compromised immune system, in which case appropriate follow-up should be adhered to.
Surgical intervention may be needed in cases of a cleft palate or lip, syndactyly or polydactyly. In general, ectodermal dysplasia is a group of conditions that requires the cooperation of an extensive and multi-disciplinary team of doctors in order for the appropriate management of the condition to be possible.
Individuals born with ectodermal dysplasia have unaffected intelligence and are usually subject to no significant morbidity or mortality. More severe cases of hypohidrosis need to be diagnosed at a very young age and managed appropriately, so as for the child to grow normally. The type of ectodermal dysplasia that is followed by the poorest prognosis is the one accompanied by immunodeficiency: mortality/morbidity are attributed to the defective immune system.
Until now, approximately 200 conditions have been classified, which all fall under the category of ectodermal dysplasia syndromes, since they involve abnormalities of the products of the embryonic ectoderm. Nearly 8 out of 10 patients suffer from the Christ-Siemens-Touraine syndrome, a condition otherwise referred to as X-linked recessive hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia. 1 in 1,000,000 people are believed to be affected by it and the precise genetic loci of the abnormal gene are Xq12-q13.1 .
Ectodermal dysplasia conditions were first categorized in 1982 , with the next attempts being no sooner than 1994  . The initial categorization systems separated and identified them depending on the pathologically developed structures, such as hair, teeth, nail and eccrine glands. More recent approaches utilized the newly-discovered genetic substrate of these conditions and the most popular categorization is, until now, the following:
- Related to the existence of cell-to-cell communication, adhesion, development, other 
- Related to the existence of anomalies of developmental regulation or mesenchymal interaction and irregularities of cytoskeleton stability and cellular maintenance 
Some of the most frequently observed ectodermal dysplasia syndromes are the following:
Ectodermal dysplasia is a condition which is congenital. Depending on the particular structures that are affected, it may remain undiagnosed until a child reaches the age of infancy, when these characteristics can be recognized as defective. In general, 1 out of 100,000 individuals in the United States is believed to be affected by the most common type of ectodermal dysplasia (hypohydrotic), whereas at an international level, the frequency seems augmented, with 70 out of 100,000 individuals suffering from it.
Ectodermal dysplasia syndromes are inherited in various ways. The most common hypohydrotic type is passed down from one generation to the other via the X-linked recessive pathway, which means that female patients are mere carriers, and affected males experience the full effect of the condition. Other X-linked ectodermal dysplasias include:
- Anhidrotic ectodermal dysplasia with immunodeficiency (EDA-ID)
- Osteopetrosis, lymphedema, EDA, and immunodeficiency (OL-EDA-ID)
The remaining syndromes are not inherited via the X-linked pathway and therefore do not affect male and female patients in different ratios.
The severity of the condition depends on whether the mucous and major sweat glands are dysplastic. Abnormal development of these glands may lead to frequent, periodic episodes of fever, which can induce epileptic phenomena and further neurological damage. Children with ectodermal dysplasia typically exhibit hindered growth  and often display dermatitis, which leads to loss of hair due to frequent infections.
The ectoderm is one of the three layers of cells that develop during embryogenesis and from which all other structures of a fully developed embryo are formed. The ectoderm is the exterior layer, followed by the mesoderm and endoderm. The structures that are a result of the ectodermal differentiation are the nervous system, the teeth, the skin and, subsequently, the skin's appendages as well. Ectodermal dysplasia occurs due to a failure of the embryonic ectoderm to differentiate normally, thus producing defective and abnormal structures.
Nearly 200 conditions induced by the faulty development of the ectoderm have been categorized and are all caused by genetic mutations. Other significant factors that have been found to participate in the pathogenesis of ectodermal dysplasia are the tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-like/TNV receptor signaling pathway, ectodysplasin (EDA), the EDR receptor (EDAR), the EDAR-associated death domain (EDARADD), the NF-kB signally pathway, which involves the NF-kB essential modulator and the transcription factor p63 
The faulty regulation of the ectodermal development may, in some occasions, be followed by abnormalities of structures originating from the mesoderm or the endoderm.
Ectodermal dysplasia is a group of inherited conditions and can therefore not be prevented. In families with a medical history of one of the conditions, direct genetic testing can be performed to determine the existence of this disease in an unborn child. A skin biopsy is also possible prenatally for the same reasons.
Ectodermal dysplasia is not a single condition, but refers to a group of inherited diseases whose common feature is the abnormal development of structures originating from the embryonic ectoderm. The defects affect the skin and any organ or structure attached to it, such as the hair follicles and, respectively, the hair, teeth, eccrine glands and nails. In order for the condition to be defined as ectodermal dysplasia, 2 or more structures must be involved and, depending on the particular clinical characteristics of each disease, nearly 200 congenital types have been described, which lead to anomalies of the ectodermal products. Except for the embryonic ectoderm, structures derived from the mesoderm or endoderm may be also be affected in some cases (ectodermal dysplasia syndromes). Patients displaying solely abnormalities related to the ectoderm are affected by pure ectodermal dysplasias.
The ectoderm is one of the three first cell layers to form in an embryo, and the most external layer of those three. As the embryo grows, various structures originate from this primitive cellular layer, such as the teeth, the skin, hair and sweat glands. Ectodermal dysplasia is a group of conditions with various characteristics which are all a result of a faulty development of the ectoderm. Thus, the appearance of the teeth, hair and nails are affected and the sweat glands are often sparse or absent.
Individuals affected by one of these conditions have fine, lightly-colored hair and frequently experience loss of their hair. Nails are distorted in appearance and the teeth are also irregularly shaped and may be less in number. People who have less sweat glands or no glands at all may experience frequent fevers: this happens due to the fact that the sweat produced by the body helps to keep the body's temperature from rising excessively.
the ectodermal dysplasia syndromes that that scientific community is familiar with until now are approximately 200. The conditions cannot be cured, but can be treated in order to manage the symptoms and offer the patients a better quality of life. In general, people affected by these conditions do not face other health problems, except for some rare cases.
- Kere J, Srivastava AK, Montonen O et-al. X-linked anhidrotic (hypohidrotic) ectodermal dysplasia is caused by mutation in a novel transmembrane protein. Nat. Genet. 1996;13 (4): 409-16. doi:10.1038/ng0895-409
- Pinheiro M, Freire-Maia N. The ectodermal dysplasias. Arch Dermatol. 1982 Apr. 118(4):215-6.
- Pinheiro M, Freire-Maia N. Ectodermal dysplasias: a clinical classification and a causal review. Am J Med Genet. 1994 Nov 1. 53(2):153-62.
- Freire-Maia N, Lisboa-Costa T, Pagnan NA. Ectodermal dysplasias: how many?. Am J Med Genet. 2001 Nov 15. 104(1):84.
- Lamartine J. Towards a new classification of ectodermal dysplasias. Clin Exp Dermatol. 2003 Jul. 28(4):351-5.
- Priolo M, Lagana C. Ectodermal dysplasias: a new clinical-genetic classification. J Med Genet. 2001 Sep. 38(9):579-85.
- Okamura E, Suda N, Baba Y, Fukuoka H, Ogawa T, Ohkuma M, et al. Dental and maxillofacial characteristics in six Japanese individuals with ectrodactyly-ectodermal dysplasia-clefting (EEC)syndrome.Cleft Palate Craniofac J. 2012 Jan 11.
- Motil KJ, Fete TJ, Fraley JK, et al. Growth characteristics of children with ectodermal dysplasia syndromes.Pediatrics. 2005 Aug. 116(2):e229-34.
- Priolo M. Ectodermal dysplasias: an overview and update of clinical and molecular-functional mechanisms.Am J Med Genet A. 2009 Sep. 149A(9):2003-13.
- Clouston HR. A hereditary ectodermal dystrophy. Can Med Assoc J. 1929. 21:18-31.
- Pierard GE, Van Neste D, Letot B. Hidrotic ectodermal dysplasia. Dermatologica. 1979. 158(3):168-74.
- Reynold JM, Gold MB, Scriver CR. The characterization of hereditary abnormalities of keratin: Clouston's ectodermal dysplasia. Birth Defects Orig Artic Ser. 1971 Jun. 7(8):91-5.
- Klineberg I, Cameron A, Hobkirk J, Bergendal B, Maniere MC, King N, et al. Rehabilitation of children with ectodermal dysplasia. Part 2: an international consensus meeting. Int J Oral Maxillofac Implants. 2013 Jul-Aug. 28(4):1101-9.
- Klineberg I, Cameron A, Whittle T, Hobkirk J, Bergendal B, Maniere MC, et al. Rehabilitation of children with ectodermal dysplasia. Part 1: an international Delphi study. Int J Oral Maxillofac Implants. 2013 Jul-Aug. 28(4):1090-100.
- Lee HE, Chang IK, Im M, Seo YJ, Lee JH, Lee Y. Topical minoxidil treatment for congenital alopecia in hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2013 Apr. 68(4):e139-40.