The EDA-deficient mouse has Zymbal's gland hypoplasia and acute otitis externa

Dis Model Mech. 2022 Mar 1;15(3):dmm049034. doi: 10.1242/dmm.049034. Epub 2022 Mar 30.


In mice, rats, dogs and humans, the growth and function of sebaceous glands and eyelid Meibomian glands depend on the ectodysplasin signalling pathway. Mutation of genes encoding the ligand EDA, its transmembrane receptor EDAR and the intracellular signal transducer EDARADD leads to hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia, characterised by impaired development of teeth and hair, as well as cutaneous glands. The rodent ear canal has a large auditory sebaceous gland, the Zymbal's gland, the function of which in the health of the ear canal has not been determined. We report that EDA-deficient mice, EDAR-deficient mice and EDARADD-deficient rats have Zymbal's gland hypoplasia. EdaTa mice have 25% prevalence of otitis externa at postnatal day 21 and treatment with agonist anti-EDAR antibodies rescues Zymbal's glands. The aetiopathogenesis of otitis externa involves infection with Gram-positive cocci, and dosing pregnant and lactating EdaTa females and pups with enrofloxacin reduces the prevalence of otitis externa. We infer that the deficit of sebum is the principal factor in predisposition to bacterial infection, and the EdaTa mouse is a potentially useful microbial challenge model for human acute otitis externa.

Keywords: EDAR; EDARADD; FBXO11; Hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia; MECOM; Sparse and wavy hair rat; Tabby mouse.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ear Canal*
  • Ectodermal Dysplasia 1, Anhidrotic*
  • Ectodysplasins
  • Female
  • Lactation
  • Mice
  • Otitis Externa*


  • Ectodysplasins