Aloplecia universalis congenita (ALUNC) is a congenital (present at birth) disease characterized by complete hair loss on the scalp and the body. Individuals with ALUNC are born with hair follicles that do not grow hair. Most people with this condition do not have other symptoms, but may experience some burning or itching. The condition may also be associated with dermatitis, thyroid disorders, nail changes, anxiety, personality disorders, and depression.
ALUNC is thought to be an autoimmune condition in which the immune system mistakes hair follicles as foreign to the body and attacks them, so they cannot grow hair properly. ALUNC is caused by mutations (changes) in the HR gene. We inherit our genes in pairs, one from each parent typically. ALUNC is inherited in an autosomal recessive manner. Autosomal recessive means that an individual must have two copies of the changed gene or mutation that causes the condition. A person with one changed gene would be a carrier of the condition but usually will not have any symptoms. If both parents are carriers of the condition, each child has a one in four chance (25%) of having the disease.
ALUNC is usually diagnosed based on symptoms at birth. Sometimes, a scalp biopsy (examination of tissue with a microscope) is necessary for diagnosis. No treatment has been found to work for everyone, though potential treatment options include steroids and other medications. Extra precautions like using sunscreen, sunglasses, and wearing hats to protect the scalp should be taken to decrease the chance of getting harmful sun exposure. In some affected individuals, hair may grow back even without treatment.
If a family member has been diagnosed with aloplecia universalis congenita, talk to your doctor about the most current treatment options. Support groups are also a good source of information.
Description Last Updated: Aug 29, 2018