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Muehrcke's lines

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

  • these are transverse white lines which are related to changes in the nail bed (and thus don't grow out with the nail)
    • transverse white bands parallel to the lunula which usually occur in paired narrow white bands in the nail bed
    • bands will blanch with applied pressure (1)
  • the cause seems to be oedema of the underlying connective tissue
  • most commonly associated with hypoalbuminaemia (e.g. nephrotic syndrome) but may occur after trauma (2)
    • also reported to occur in patients with nephritic syndrome, glomerulonephritis, liver disease, malnutrition states, and after chemotherapy (1)


  1. Zaiac MN, Daniel CR. Nails in systemic disease Dermatologic Therapy 2002;15 (2); 99–106.
  2. Arch of Dermatology 1989;125:133.

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