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Impaired ectodysplasin A (EDA) receptor (EDAR) signaling affects ectodermally derived structures including teeth, hair follicles, and cutaneous glands. The X-linked hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia (XLHED), resulting from EDA deficiency, can be rescued with lifelong benefits in animal models by stimulation of ectodermal appendage development with EDAR agonists. Treatments initiated later in the developmental period restore progressively fewer of the affected structures. It is unknown whether EDAR stimulation in adults with XLHED might have beneficial effects. In adult Eda mutant mice treated for several weeks with agonist anti-EDAR antibodies, we find that sebaceous gland size and function can be restored to wild-type levels. This effect is maintained upon chronic treatment but reverses slowly upon cessation of treatment. Sebaceous glands in all skin regions respond to treatment, although to varying degrees, and this is accompanied in both Eda mutant and wild-type mice by sebum secretion to levels higher than those observed in untreated controls. Edar is expressed at the periphery of the glands, suggesting a direct homeostatic effect of Edar stimulation on the sebaceous gland. Sebaceous gland size and sebum production may serve as biomarkers for EDAR stimulation, and EDAR agonists may improve skin dryness and eczema frequently observed in XLHED.


Christine Kowalczyk-Quintas, Sonia Schuepbach-Mallepell, Laure Willen, Terry K Smith, Kenneth Huttner, Neil Kirby, Denis J Headon, Pascal Schneider. Pharmacological stimulation of Edar signaling in the adult enhances sebaceous gland size and function. The Journal of investigative dermatology. 2015 Feb;135(2):359-368

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PMID: 25207818

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