Muehrcke's lines

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Muehrcke's lines

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]

Synonyms and keywords: Leukonychia striata


Muehrcke's lines are changes in the fingernail that may be a sign of an underlying medical disorder or condition.


Common Causes

The appearance of Meuhrcke'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.

An example of Muehrcke's Lines in the context of chemotherapy was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2007. [1]

Causes by Organ System

Cardiovascular No underlying causes
Chemical / poisoning Chemotherapy
Dermatologic No underlying causes
Drug Side Effect Chemotherapy
Ear Nose Throat No underlying causes
Endocrine No underlying causes
Environmental No underlying causes
Gastroenterologic No underlying causes
Genetic No underlying causes
Hematologic No underlying causes
Iatrogenic No underlying causes
Infectious Disease No underlying causes
Musculoskeletal / Ortho No underlying causes
Neurologic No underlying causes
Nutritional / Metabolic No underlying causes
Obstetric/Gynecologic No underlying causes
Oncologic No underlying causes
Opthalmologic No underlying causes
Overdose / Toxicity Chemotherapy
Psychiatric No underlying causes
Pulmonary No underlying causes
Renal / Electrolyte Nephrotic syndrome
Rheum / Immune / Allergy No underlying causes
Sexual No underlying causes
Trauma No underlying causes
Urologic No underlying causes
Miscellaneous No underlying causes

Causes in Alphabetical Order

Physical examination

Muehrcke's lines are white lines 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.

See also


  1. {{cite journal | author =Morrison-Bryant M, Gradon JD | title = Muehrcke's Lines. | journal = N Engl J Med. | volume = 357 | issue = 9 | pages = 917| year = 2007 | id = PMID 17761595 }

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