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J Dtsch Dermatol Ges. 2011 Aug;9(8):586-93. doi: 10.1111/j.1610-0387.2011.07658.x. Epub 2011 Mar 16.

Pseudoxanthoma elasticum, the paradigm of heritable ectopic mineralization disorders - can diet help?

[Article in English, German]

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Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Biology, Jefferson Medical College, Jefferson Institute of Molecular Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, USA.


Pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE) is a heritable multi-system disorder manifesting with characteristic cutaneous lesions, associated with ocular findings and cardiovascular involvement. The skin lesions, yellowish papules which coalesce into plaques of inelastic and leathery skin, demonstrate by histopathologic and ultrastructural examinations ectopic mineralization of dermal connective tissues, primarily the elastic structures. PXE is inherited in an autosomal recessive fashion due to mutations in the ABCC6 gene. Significant insights into the pathogenesis of PXE have been recently obtained from observations on the Abcc6(-/-) knockout mouse which mimics the genetic, histopathologic and ultrastructural features of PXE. This mouse model has provided a platform to test various treatment modalities to counteract the mineralization phenotypes. One of the intriguing findings emanating from these studies is that supplementation of the mouse diet with magnesium, at levels that are ∼5-fold higher than those in control diet, completely inhibits the development of tissue mineralization. These and related observations suggest that changes in the diet might counteract the progression of PXE and improve the quality of life of patients with this, currently intractable, disease.

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