What causes monilethrix?

The cause of monilethrix remains unclear. To date, whether monilethrix is a disorder of the function or structure of the hair has not been determined. Some genetic studies suggest that monilethrix is likely caused by a mutation (change in a gene) in keratin (a type of protein found in the hair). At least four genes have been found to cause this condition. Autosomal dominant monilethrix is caused by mutations in the hair cortex keratin genes KRT81, KRT83, or KRT86. The autosomal recessive form of monilethrix results from mutations in the desmoglein 4 ( DSG4) gene.

Last updated on 05-01-20

How do people inherit monilethrix?

Monilethrix can be inherited in an autosomal dominant or autosomal recessive manner. In autosomal dominant conditions, a single copy of the disease-associated mutation is enough to cause the disease. In many cases, an individual inherits the condition from a parent. In autosomal recessive conditions, two copies of the mutation, one from each parent, are needed to cause the disease. The parents of an individual with an autosomal recessive condition each carry one copy of the mutated gene, but they typically do not show signs and symptoms of the condition.

Last updated on 05-01-20

What is monilethrix?

Monilethrix is a rare condition caused by a defect in the hair shaft resulting in hair which appears dry, dull, and brittle, and which breaks spontaneously or with mild trauma. The age of onset, severity, and course may vary from person to person.

Last updated on 05-01-20

Is anyone researching the use of stem cells for the treatment of this condition?

There are no reports of stem cell research for monilethrix at this time. We suggest that you check back with the links posted on this site from time to time to see if new research has been added.

Last updated on 05-01-20

Are there any clinical trials underway for monilethrix?

The National Institutes of Health, through the National Library of Medicine, developed to provide patients, family members, and members of the public with current information on clinical research studies. No studies involving monilethrix are listed at this time, but check this site often for updates. To search for a study, use "monilethrix" as your search term.

You can also contact the Patient Recruitment and Public Liaison (PRPL) Office at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). We recommend calling the toll-free number listed below to speak with a specialist, who can help you locate relevant clinical trials.

Patient Recruitment and Public Liaison Office (PRPL)
NIH Clinical Center
Bethesda, Maryland 20892-2655
Toll-free: 800-411-1222
Fax: 301-480-9793
Web site:

Last updated on 05-01-20

Is genetic testing for monilethrix clinically available?

Yes. The Genetic Testing Registry (GTR) provides information about the genetic tests for this condition. The intended audience for the GTR is health care providers and researchers. Patients and consumers with specific questions about a genetic test should contact a health care provider or a genetics professional.

Last updated on 05-01-20

Is there anything that can be done to avoid passing monilethrix to my offspring?

No consensus about prenatal diagnosis has yet been reached. For some of the more severe types, prenatal diagnosis may be requested and performed through chorionic villus sampling (CVS) or amniocentesis.

We recommend that you discuss these options and your concerns about passing on monilethrix to your offspring with a genetics professional. The following online resources can help you find a genetics professional in your community:

Last updated on 05-01-20

Is there treatment available for monilethrix? Is there a cure for the condition?

Unfortunately, the is no cure for monilethrix. Some patients have reported spontaneous improvement, particularly during puberty and pregnancy, but the condition rarely disappears completely.

While there is no recognized definitive treatment for monilethrix, oral acitretin and topical 2% minoxidil have shown good clinical and cosmetic results with continued use. The systemic administration of vitamins, retinoids, griseofulvin, oral contraceptives, steroids, radiation therapy, external desquamative ointments, and steroid preparations have not show impressive results.

Avoiding trauma is perhaps the most effective method of managing monilethrix. This is because from birth, the hair of individuals with monilethrix tends to have an increased susceptibility to weathering and cosmetic damage (e.g., sunlight exposure, dyeing, bleaching, perming, curling). This susceptibility to damage can prevent hair from growing to its maximum length.

Last updated on 05-01-20

Are there any researchers currently studying ways to treat or cure monilethrix?

Although we are not aware of any researchers currently studying ways to treat or cure monilethrix, we recommend that you periodically check PubMed, a searchable database of medical literature, to locate published articles regarding treatment and a possible cure. Using "monilethrix AND treatment" as your search term should locate articles. To narrow your search, click on the “Limits” tab under the search box and specify your criteria for locating more relevant articles.

Last updated on 05-01-20

Name: National Alopecia Areata Foundation NAAF 65 Mitchell Boulevard Suite 200-B
San Rafael, CA, 94903 , United States
Phone: +1-415-472-3780 Fax : +1-415-472-1800 Email: Url:

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