Ectodermal dysplasia

How are ectodermal dysplasias inherited?

Ectodermal dysplasias are genetic disorders, which means that they can be passed on from affected people to their children. They are caused by mutations in various genes; the mutations may be inherited from a parent, or normal genes may become mutated at the time of egg or sperm formation, or after fertilization. The risk for parents to have an affected child depends on the inheritance pattern of the specific type of ectodermal dysplasia with which the individual in the family has been diagnosed. Thus, a family affected by an ectodermal dysplasia should consider speaking with a geneticist or a genetic counselor for a better understanding of the specific ectodermal dysplasia and the probabilities or risks that the ectodermal dysplasia will occur in any future pregnancy.

The different types of inheritance patterns that occur depending on the specific type of ectodermal dysplasia in the family include x-linked recessive, autosomal dominant, and autosomal recessive.

  • X-linked recessive: If a woman is a carrier of an x-linked recessive form, there is a 50% chance that each of her male children will inherit the mutated gene and be affected, and a 50% chance that each female will inherit the mutated gene and be a carrier (like the mother). If a man has the mutated gene, he will be affected and will also pass the gene on to all of his daughters, who will be carriers. Since the gene is on the X chromosome, his sons will not be affected because they receive the man’s Y.
  • Autosomal dominant: When the ectodermal dysplasia is an autosomal dominant form, the parent who is affected has a single copy of the mutated gene (which is sufficient to cause the disorder in any autosomal dominant condition) and may pass it on to his or her children. Regardless of the gender of the parent or the child, there is a 50% chance for each child to receive the mutated gene and be affected, and a 50% chance to not inherited the mutated gene. All children who receive the mutated gene will be affected.
  • Autosomal recessive: When the ectodermal dysplasia in the family is an autosomal recessive form, the usual situation is that each parent is unaffected, but likely has one mutated copy of the gene and one normal copy of the gene. They are said to be carriers. Carriers do not typically show signs and symptoms of an autosomal recessive condition. When two parents who are carriers have children, with each pregnancy there is a 25% (1 in 4) risk for the child to have the condition, a 50% (1 in 2) risk for the child to be an unaffected carrier like each of the parents, and a 25% chance for the child to not have the condition AND not be a carrier (and therefore not pass the mutation on to future generations). To be affected with an autosomal recessive condition, an individual must have two mutated copies of the disease-causing gene.

Sometimes, when an individual is the first person in a family to be affected with an ectodermal dysplasia, it is because a new mutation occurred in that individual, and neither of the parents carry a mutated copy of the gene. Usually, in this case, there is little chance (about 1%) that it will occur in another child of the same parents. However, the affected child may transmit the disease-causing gene to future generations. It is also important to know that even in families and individuals who have the exact same mutation, there can be variability in how the condition affects each family member.

Individuals who have questions about their own genetic risks or status, or risks to current and future family members, should speak with a genetics professional.

Last updated on 05-01-20

Is gene therapy available for individuals with ectodermal dysplasia?

The current research for treatment options for ectodermal dysplasia involves protein therapy but not gene therapy. Protein therapy aims to replace the missing protein that is causing a medical condition. There is an ongoing protein therapy clinical trial that seeks to replace the missing protein in individuals with X-linked hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia (XLHED). The ectodysplasin- A1 protein (EDA-A1), which is involved in the formation and development of skin and teeth, is found naturally in healthy people. Patients with XLHED do not produce this protein. ED1200 is a man-made form of EDA-A1 that was found to improve the development of hair, teeth, skin and some glandular structures in animals. The current clinical trial seeks to obtain data that will be useful for determining the appropriate dosing of ED1200 for babies born with XLHED. To view information about this clinical trial please click here.

The XLHED Network is a group for patients and familes afffected by hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia or XLHED. Members of the network receive updates on HED and XLHED research and upcoming clinical trials. To learn more about this network please visit the following link.

Last updated on 05-01-20

Name: National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias 6 Executive Drive Suite 2
Fairview Heights, IL, 62258-1360, United States
Phone: +1-618-566-2020 Fax : +1-618-566-4718 Email: Url:
Name: The Ectodermal Dysplasia Society Unit 1 Maida Vale Business Centre Leckhampton
Cheltenham Gloucestershire GL53 7ER
United Kingdom
Phone: +44 (0) 1242 261332 Email: Url:
Name: FACES: The National Craniofacial Association PO Box 11082
Chattanooga, TN, 37401, United States
Phone: 423-266-1632 Toll Free: 800-332-2373 Email: Url:
Name: Children's Craniofacial Association 13140 Coit Road Suite 517
Dallas, TX, 75240 , United States
Phone: +1-214-570-9099 Toll Free: 1-800-535-3643 Fax : +1-214-570-8811 Email: Url:
Name: American Hair Loss Association 23679 Calabasas Road # 682
Calabasas, CA, 91301-1502, United States
Email: Url:
Name: World Craniofacial Foundation P.O. Box 515838
Dallas, TX, 75251-5838, United States
Phone: 972-566-6669 Toll Free: 800-533-3315 Fax : 972-566-3850 Email: Url:
Name: Genetic Skin Disease Center Stanford Medical Dermatology Clinic Stanford Medicine Outpatient Center
450 Broadway Pavilion B, 4th Floor
Redwood City, CA, 94063, United States
Phone: 650-723-6316 Fax : 650-725-7711 Url:
Name: Canadian Ectodermal Dysplasia Syndromes Association CEDSA 124 Lochiel Street
Renfrew, Ontario K7V 1W7, Canada
Phone: +1-613-432-9732 Email: Url:

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