Dermatoglyphics in kidney diseases: a review

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Kidney diseases are becoming a major cause of global burden with high mortality and morbidity. The origins of most kidney diseases are known, but for some the exact aetiology is not yet understood. Dermatoglyphics is the scientific study of epidermal ridge patterns and it has been used as a non-invasive diagnostic tool to detect or predict different medical conditions that have foetal origin. However, there have been a limited number of studies that have evaluated a dermatoglyphic relationship in different kidney diseases. The aim of this review was to systematically identify, review and appraise available literature that evaluated an association of different dermatoglyphic variables with kidney diseases. This review is reported according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses checklist. The PubMed® (Medline), POPLINE, Cochrane Library and Trip Database and grey literature sources such as OpenGrey, Google Scholar, and Google were searched to earliest date to 17 April 2014. Of the 36 relevant publications, 15 were included in the review. Of these studies, there are five case reports, seven case series and three comparative studies. Possible association of dermatoglyphics with Wilms tumor (WT) had been evaluated in two comparative studies and one case series that found fewer whorls and a lower mean total ridge count (TRC). Another study evaluated adult polycystic kidney disease (APCD) type III that revealed lower TRC means in all cases. All other case series and case reports describe dermatoglyphics in various kidney disease such as acro-renal-ocular syndrome, potter syndrome, kabuki makeup syndrome, neurofaciodigitorenal syndrome, syndactyly type V, ring chromosome 13 syndrome, trisomy 13 syndrome and sirenomelia. It is evident that whorl pattern frequency and TRC have been used widely to investigate the uncertainty related to the origin of several kidney diseases such as WT and APCD type III. However, small sample sizes, possibly methodological issues, and discrepancy in the make up between cases and control groups limits interpretation of any significant findings. Future studies with proper protocol, adequate cases, and control groups may provide stronger evidence to resolve uncertainty related to the aetiology of kidney diseases.




Wijerathne, B. T. B., Meier, R. J., Salgado, S. S., & Agampodi, S. B. (2016, December 1). Dermatoglyphics in kidney diseases: a review. SpringerPlus. SpringerOpen.

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