Indian Journal of Dermatology
  Publication of IADVL, WB
  Official organ of AADV
Indexed with Science Citation Index (E) , Web of Science and PubMed
Users online: 1239  
Home About  Editorial Board  Current Issue Archives Online Early Coming Soon Guidelines Subscriptions  e-Alerts    Login  
    Small font sizeDefault font sizeIncrease font size Print this page Email this page

Table of Contents 
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 60  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 524
Jadassohn lewandowsky syndrome: A rare entity

Department of DVL, P.E.S. Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Kuppam, Andra Pradesh, India

Date of Web Publication4-Sep-2015

Correspondence Address:
Yugandar Inakanti
Department of DVL, P.E.S. Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Kuppam - 517 425, Chittoor District, Andhra Pradesh
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5154.159665

Rights and Permissions


Pachyonychia congenita (PC) is a rare autosomal dominant genodermatosis characterized by hyperkeratosis affecting the nails and palmoplantar areas, oral leucokeratosis, and cystic lesions. It is classically subdivided into two major variants, PC-1 (Jadassohn-Lewandowski syndrome) and PC-2 (Jackson-Lawler syndrome), according to the localization of the mutations in the KRT6A/KRT16 or KRT6B/KRT17 genes, respectively. We report a 9-year-old male patient with a history of thickened, discolored nails, raised spiny skin lesions all over the body since birth with focal plantar keratoderma and absence of natal teeth.

Keywords: Jadassohn-Lewandowski syndrome, keratins, nails, pachyonychia congenita, palmoplantar keratoderma

How to cite this article:
Prasad AM, Inakanti Y, Kumar S. Jadassohn lewandowsky syndrome: A rare entity. Indian J Dermatol 2015;60:524

How to cite this URL:
Prasad AM, Inakanti Y, Kumar S. Jadassohn lewandowsky syndrome: A rare entity. Indian J Dermatol [serial online] 2015 [cited 2021 Aug 5];60:524. Available from: https://www.e-ijd.org/text.asp?2015/60/5/524/159665

What was known?
Jadassohn-Lewandowski syndrome is an autosomal dominant skin disorders characterized predominantly by thickened nails, palmoplantar hyperkeratosis, keratosis pilaris, hyperkeratotic follicular papules on the sites of friction, hair abnormalities and hyperhidrosis of the palms and soles. These disorders have been suggested to be due to mutations in paired keratins.

   Introduction Top

Pachyonychia congenita (PC) describes a group of rare autosomal dominant skin disorders characterized predominantly by dystrophic, thickened nails and painful and highly debilitating palmoplantar hyperkeratosis. [1],[2]

Mόller made one of the first documented observations of PC in 1904. [3] The next reports were published in 1905 by Wilson [4] and in 1906 by Jadassohn and Lewandowsky. [5] With a base on phenotypes, PC is classified in four types: PC I to III and PC tarda. [6],[7]

The objective of this case report is to describe the clinical features of PC-I. Although with inherent limitations of a single case, this report may contribute to better understanding about this rare condition.

   Case Report Top

A 9-year-old male born at term to non consanguineous parents was referred to our outpatient clinic for evaluation of thickened nails starting at the age of 6 months.

He presented with history of pinhead-sized yellowish spiny skin lesions all over body noted at birth that had slowly grown during the first year of age and abnormalities nails. No history of natal or neonatal teeth was there. The patient intelligence was normal. No similar complaints in family.

Physical examination showed:

All laboratory investigations were within normal limits. KOH mounts of toe and finger nails were negative for fungal elements. Histopathology examination of Follicular keratotic papule showed follicular plugging, hyperkeratosis and acanthosis. A skin biopsy of sole showed marked hyperkeratosis, acanthosis, moderate hypergranulosis and minimal dermal inflammatory infiltration. Based on characteristic clinical findings and histopathology features, diagnosis of PC type 1 or Jadassohn-Lewandowski syndrome was confirmed.

   Discussion Top

PC is a rare, autosomal dominant disorder characterized by triad of subungual hyperkeratosis with accumulation of hard keratinous material beneath the distal portion of the nails, lifting the nails from the nail bed, keratosis palmaris et plantaris with thick callosities, especially on the soles and thick white areas on the oral mucosa. [8] Other associated features which may occur include keratosis pilaris, hyperkeratotic follicular papules on the sites of friction, hair abnormalities and hyperhidrosis of the palms and soles. These disorders have been suggested to be due to mutations in paired keratins, K6a/K16 (in PC1) and K6b/K17 (in PC2). According to these mutations, various clinical variants have been described:

PC-I or Jadassohn-Lewandowski syndrome (MIM #167200) is a common entity characterized by onychogryposis on all the digits (100%), hyperkeratosis of the palmo plantar (50-90%) and of extensor areas, follicular keratosis (37%), oral (50-75%) or laryngeal (6-15%) leukokeratosis, acral hyperhidrosis (20-75%) and blisters (36%). [5],[6],[7],[8],[9],[10],[11],[12]

In patients with PC-II or Jackson-Lawler syndrome (MIM #167210), main changes are natal or neonatal teeth (15-50%), cutaneous cystic lesions (25%), disorders in scalp and eyebrow hairs (9-25%), in addition to corneal dystrophy (8%); moreover, the nail hyperkeratosis is less accentuated in PC-II than in PC-I. [6],[9],[10],[11],[12]

PC-III (Schafer-Brunauer syndrome) shows combined features of type 1 and 2 with angular cheilosis, cataract and corneal dyskeratosis. [7] Despite recent advances in genetic analysis, misdiagnosis can occur because same mutations may show diverse features.

A fourth variant, PC tarda, has also been described and is characterized by a later onset that ranges from late childhood to middle ages. Other rare variants include PC with only nail involvement.


Keratins are structural proteins that promote the integrity of epithelial cells. As a result, mutations in the genes encoding keratins lead to cell fragility. [1] The skin expresses the largest number of keratin genes of any organ in body. PC is caused by mutations in five keratin genes KRT6a, KRT6b, KRT6c, KRT16 and KRT17 which are expressed only in palmo plantar skin, the nail bed, pilosebaceous unit and oral mucosa, leading to selective involvement of these sites in PC. [1]

Genetic Diagnosis

PC is an autosomal dominant disorder. More than 45% of cases appear spontaneously with no family history of PC. Given the overlapping clinical presentation with other genetic disorders, only genetic testing can confirm the PC diagnosis.

With nearly 100 distinct PC mutations now identified, correlating the signs of PC with specific mutations and genes has led to a new classification system of PC, now classified into five subgroups corresponding to the underlying genetic defect: PC-K6a, PC-K6b, PC-K6c, PC-K16 and PC-K17.

Histological Findings

Histological examination of plantar hyperkeratosis plaques reveals an acanthotic epidermis with parakeratosis and orthokeratosis compatible with rapid keratinocyte proliferation and differentiation. Cytologic atypical is not seen.

Complications like respiratory distress due to laryngeal leucokeratosis and acroosteolysis, malignant changes in palmoplantar lesions can occur in PC.


Treatment options for PC fall into four broad categories:

  • Non-invasive (mechanical) e.g. abrasion with some hand tool
  • Invasive (surgical) e.g. electrofulgration, excision
  • Chemical methods using urea, propylene glycol, alpha hydroxy acid
  • Pharmacological (vitamin A, retinoid), all basically targeted at reducing the hyperkeratosis involving different sites.

When the familial mutation is known, genetic counseling can be done and if required, prenatal diagnosis can be done at early stage of pregnancy by chorionic villi biopsy. In our case, we advised keratolytics and oral isotretinoin.

   Conclusion Top

PC is a rare genetic disorder for which there are very few therapeutic options available. Free genetic testing is provided to each patient through the International Pachyonychia Congenita Research Registry (IPCRR) sponsored by the PC Project (www.pachyonychia.org) which is a non-profit USA public charity, supports clinical and research activities related to the treatment of pachyonychia congenital. In India, we don't have such projects working on PC. With this case, we intend to draw attention to this condition and the role of the dermatologist in the diagnosis.

   Acknowledgement Top

We gratefully acknowledge the help of the Principal, PESIMSR, Kuppam and the professor and head of the Department of DVL, PESIMSR, Kuppam.

   References Top

McLean WH, Hansen CD, Eliason MJ, Smith FJ. The phenotypic and molecular genetic features of pachyonychia congenita. J Invest Dermatol 2011;131:1015-7.  Back to cited text no. 1
Leachman SA, Kaspar RL, Fleckman P, Florell SR, Smith FJ, McLean WH, et al. Clinical and pathological features of pachyonychia congenita. J Investig Dermatol Symp Proc 2005;10:3-17.  Back to cited text no. 2
Muller C. On the causes of congenital onychogryphosis. Mcn Med Wochenschr 1904;49:2180-2.  Back to cited text no. 3
Wilson AG. Three cases of hereditary hyperkeratosis of the nail bed. Br J Dermatol 1905;17:13-4.  Back to cited text no. 4
Jadassohn J, Lewandowsky F. Pachyonychia congenita. Keratosis disseminata circumscripta (follicularis). Tylomata. Leukokeratosis linguae. In: Jacob's Ikonographia Dermatologica. 1 st ed. Berlin: Urban und Schwarzenberg; 1906. p. 29-31.  Back to cited text no. 5
Al Aboud A, Al Aboud K. Josef Jadassohn (1863-1936), Felix Lewandowsky (1879-1921), and their syndrome. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol 2011;4:179-82.  Back to cited text no. 6
Ehsani A, Moeineddin F, Rajaee A. Pachyonychia congenita with woolly hair in a ten month old infant. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 2008;74:485-6.  Back to cited text no. 7
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
Johnson BL Jr, Yan AC. Congenital diseases (Genodermatosis). In: Elder DE, editors. Lever's Histopathology of the Skin. 10 th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins; 2009. p. 138.  Back to cited text no. 8
Balasubramanian S, Kaarthigeyan K, Ramnath B. Pachyonychia congenita with unusual features. Indian Pediatr 2009;46:897-9.  Back to cited text no. 9
Karen JK, Schaffer JV. Pachyonychia congenita associated with median rhomboid glossitis. Dermatol Online J 2007;13:21.  Back to cited text no. 10
Roche-Gamón E, Mahiques-Santos L, Vilata-Corell JJ. Paquioniquia congénita. Piel 2006;21:72-8.  Back to cited text no. 11
Rodríguez H, Cuestas G, Zanetta A, Balbarrey Z. Pachyonychia congenita with involvement of the larynx. Acta Otorrinolaringol Esp 2013;6519:264-6.  Back to cited text no. 12

What is new?
Pachyonychia congenita is a rare genodermatosis due to mutations in one of four keratin genes. To the best of our knowledge this represents the first report of isolated PC with healthy other siblings and parents.


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4], [Figure 5], [Figure 6], [Figure 7]


Print this article  Email this article
    Similar in PUBMED
 Related articles
    Article in PDF (2,312 KB)
    Citation Manager
    Access Statistics
    Reader Comments
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

   Case Report
    Article Figures

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded68    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal