Muehrcke's nails

Muehrcke's nails,[1] Muehrcke's lines, or leukonychia striata are changes in the fingernail that may be a sign of an underlying medical disorder or condition. Muehrcke's lines are white lines (leukonychia) that extend all the way across the nail and lie parallel to the lunula (half moon). In contrast to Beau's lines, they are not grooved. The lines are actually in the vascular nail bed underneath the nail plate, and as such, they do not move with nail growth. Meuhrcke's lines disappear when pressure is placed over the nail, blanching the underlying nail bed.

The appearance of Muehrcke's lines is nonspecific, but they are often associated with decreased protein synthesis, which may occur during periods of metabolic stress (e.g., after chemotherapy) and in hypoalbuminemic states such as the nephrotic syndrome. They are also seen in patients with end-stage kidney disease on hemodialysis, Hodgkin's disease, pellagra, and sickle cell anaemia.[2][3][4]

Muehrcke's lines have also been described in infants with chronic hypolbuminemia secondary to various causes.[5]

An example of Muehrcke's lines in the context of chemotherapy was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2007.[6]

Muehrcke's lines were described by Robert C. Muehrcke (August 4, 1921 – September 7, 2003), an American physician in 1956.[7]

See also


  1. Rapini, Ronald P.; Bolognia, Jean L.; Jorizzo, Joseph L. (2007). Dermatology: 2-Volume Set. St. Louis: Mosby. ISBN 1-4160-2999-0.
  2. Freedberg, Irwin M., ed. (2003). Fitzpatrick's dermatology in general medicine (6th ed.). New York, NY [u.a.]: McGraw-Hill. p. 659. ISBN 0-07-138076-0.
  3. Bianchi L, Iraci S, Tomassoli M, Carrozzo AM, Nini G (1992). "Coexistence of apparent transverse leukonychia (Muehrcke's lines type) and longitudinal melanonychia after 5-fluorouracil/adriamycin/cyclophosphamide chemotherapy". Dermatology. 185 (3): 216–7. doi:10.1159/000247451. PMID 1446089.
  4. Chapman S, Cohen PR (April 1997). "Transverse leukonychia in patients receiving cancer chemotherapy". South. Med. J. 90 (4): 395–8. doi:10.1097/00007611-199704000-00006. PMID 9114829.
  5. Williams, Vijai; Jayashree, Muralidharan (2017-06-05). "Muehrcke Lines in an Infant". The Journal of Pediatrics. doi:10.1016/j.jpeds.2017.05.039. ISSN 1097-6833. PMID 28595765.
  6. Morrison-Bryant M, Gradon JD (2007). "Muehrcke's Lines". N Engl J Med. 357 (9): 917. doi:10.1056/NEJMicm065055. PMID 17761595.
  7. MUEHRCKE RC (June 1956). "The finger-nails in chronic hypoalbuminaemia; a new physical sign". Br Med J. 1 (4979): 1327–8. doi:10.1136/bmj.1.4979.1327. PMC 1980060. PMID 13316143.


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