Type of disease: Rare conditions
Acrodermatitis enteropathica (AE) is a disorder of zinc metabolism that can either be inherited or acquired. Both forms lead to the inability to absorb zinc from the intestine. The lack of zinc can cause skin inflammation with a rash (pustular dermatitis) around the mouth and/or anus; diarrhea; and abnormal nails (nail dystrophy). Irritability and emotional disturbances can also occur. The inherited form is caused by mutations in the SLC39A4 gene and inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern. The acquired form can result from diets lacking the appropriate amount of zinc. Supplemental zinc usually eliminates the symptoms of acrodermatitis enteropathica. Source: Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD), supported by ORDR-NCATS and NHGRI.