• Users Online: 590
  • Print this page
  • Email this page

  Table of Contents  
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 269-270  

Co-occurrence of monilethrix and Type 1 diabetes mellitus

Department of Dermatology and Venereology, Pramukhswami Medical College, Karamsad, Gujarat, India

Date of Web Publication2-Jul-2018

Correspondence Address:
Rita V Vora
Department of Dermatology and Venereology, Pramukhswami Medical College, Karamsad, Gujarat
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/idoj.IDOJ_234_17

Rights and Permissions

How to cite this article:
Vora RV, Kota RS, Singhal RR. Co-occurrence of monilethrix and Type 1 diabetes mellitus. Indian Dermatol Online J 2018;9:269-70

How to cite this URL:
Vora RV, Kota RS, Singhal RR. Co-occurrence of monilethrix and Type 1 diabetes mellitus. Indian Dermatol Online J [serial online] 2018 [cited 2021 Dec 7];9:269-70. Available from: https://www.idoj.in/text.asp?2018/9/4/269/235707


A 14-year-old girl child, a known case of type I diabetes mellitus (DM), presented with complains of sparse hairs over scalp since birth that gradually became denser with age. Her younger brother had similar complains with no history of type 1 DM in any of the other family members. On examination, the patient had sparse lusterless hairs, which was more prominent over the frontal, temporal, and parietal regions of the scalp [Figure 1]. Sparse axillary and pubic hairs were present. Multiple follicular papular lesions were present all over the scalp. Dermoscopic examination (Dino-Lite premier AM3013T nonpolarized, Contact type; ×50 magnification, connected to a computer with inbuilt camera for taking photographs) showed few hairs with uniform spindle-shaped nodes and intermittent constrictions (internodes) [Figure 2]a. Few hairs showed translucent areas at regular intervals [Figure 2]b. Fractured hairs were seen. Patient was diagnosed to have monilethrix with type I DM, and was started on topical minoxidil 5% and multivitamins, following which the patient showed little improvement.
Figure 1: Lustreless hairs with follicular papules over the scalp

Click here to view
Figure 2: (a) Dermoscopy showing uniform spindle-shaped nodes and intermittent constrictions (internodes) of hair shaft (×50). (b) Dermoscopy showing hairs with translucent areas along the hair shafts at regular intervals (×500)

Click here to view

The word monilethrix is derived from Latin “monile” meaning “necklace” and the Greek “thrix” meaning “hair.” The first case of monilethrix was described by Walter Smith in 1879 but the term “monilethrix” was coined by Radcliff Crocker.[1] Several genetic studies have suggested that monilethrix is likely caused by a hair keratin mutation. The most common mutation is the E413K mutation in hHb6. Autosomal dominant monilethrix is caused by mutations in hair keratin genes KRT81, KRT83, or KRT86, whereas in autosomal recessive form, mutation in the desmoglein-4 gene (DSG4) has been reported.[2]

Monilethrix occurs mainly on the scalp with eyelashes, eyebrows, axillary, pubic, and limb hairs occasionally affected. Lanugo hairs are normal in the neonatal period. When terminal hairs start appearing, nodes begin to form along the hair shafts at regular interval of 0.5–1 mm. Unlike our case, the short and stubble brittle hairs are more prominent on the occipital region and the nape of the neck and are seen emerging from the top of the horny follicular papules. Apart from short, sparse, fragile, nongrowing hairs, affected patients may have keratosis pilaris, koilonychia, and rarely, systemic disturbances such as mental and physical retardation, syndactyly, cataract, teeth, and nail anomalies.[3] No association has been found between monilethrix and type 1 DM even after extensive literature search. The basic pathophysiology behind this association may be involvement of common genes that could be inherited with incomplete penetrance; therefore, further clinical studies would be needed for confirming definite association.

Dermoscopy shows hair shafts with uniform spindle-shaped nodes and intermittent constrictions (internodes); hairs bent at multiple locations and a tendency of shaft to fracture at the sites of constrictions. The nodes seem to represent normal growth; the internodes are characterized by the wrinkling of cortical cells leading to fragility of hair with an absence of medulla.

The course and outcome of this condition is very variable and unpredictable. It may persist throughout life, but spontaneous partial or complete remission can occur with age. Various activities causing hair trauma such as dyeing, bleaching, and curling should be avoided. Improvement has been reported with griseofulvin, iron supplementation, oral retinoids, and topical minoxidil in isolated cases.[4]

Declaration of patient consent

The authors certify that they have obtained all appropriate patient consent forms. In the form the patient(s) has/have given his/her/their consent for his/her/their images and other clinical information to be reported in the journal. The patients understand that their names and initials will not be published and due efforts will be made to conceal their identity, but anonymity cannot be guaranteed.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

Smith WG. A rare no dose condition of the hair. BMJ 1879;11:291-6.  Back to cited text no. 1
Farooq M, Ito M, Naito M, Shimomura Y. A case of monilethrix caused by novel compound heterozygous mutations in the desmoglein 4 (DSG4) gene. Br J Dermatol 2011;165:425-31.  Back to cited text no. 2
Karincaoglu Y, Basak KC, Muammer ES, Nalan B. Monilethrix Improvement with Acitretin. Am J Clin Dermatol 2005;6:407-10.  Back to cited text no. 3
Karaman GC, Sendur N, Basar H, Bozkurt SE. Localized monilethrix with improvement after treatment of iron deficiency anemia. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venerol 2001;15:362-4.  Back to cited text no. 4


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]

This article has been cited by
1 Pediatric androgenetic alopecia: A review
Jacob Griggs, Brandon Burroway, Antonella Tosti
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2021; 85(5): 1267
[Pubmed] | [DOI]


    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
    Access Statistics
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

  In this article
    Article Figures

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded122    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 1    

Recommend this journal