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Disease Profile

Ichthyosis, leukocyte vacuoles, alopecia, and sclerosing cholangitis

Prevalence estimates on Rare Medical Network websites are calculated based on data available from numerous sources, including US and European government statistics, the NIH, Orphanet, and published epidemiologic studies. Rare disease population data is recognized to be highly variable, and based on a wide variety of source data and methodologies, so the prevalence data on this site should be assumed to be estimated and cannot be considered to be absolutely correct.

<1 / 1 000 000

US Estimated

Europe Estimated

Age of onset





Autosomal dominant A pathogenic variant in only one gene copy in each cell is sufficient to cause an autosomal dominant disease.


Autosomal recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of each gene of the chromosome are needed to cause an autosomal recessive disease and observe the mutant phenotype.


dominant X-linked dominant inheritance, sometimes referred to as X-linked dominance, is a mode of genetic inheritance by which a dominant gene is carried on the X chromosome.


recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of a gene on the X chromosome cause an X-linked recessive disorder.


Mitochondrial or multigenic Mitochondrial genetic disorders can be caused by changes (mutations) in either the mitochondrial DNA or nuclear DNA that lead to dysfunction of the mitochondria and inadequate production of energy.


Multigenic or multifactor Inheritance involving many factors, of which at least one is genetic but none is of overwhelming importance, as in the causation of a disease by multiple genetic and environmental factors.


Not applicable


Other names (AKA)

NISCH syndrome; Neonatal ichthyosis-sclerosing cholangitis syndrome; ILVASC;


Congenital and Genetic Diseases; Digestive Diseases; Skin Diseases


The following summary is from Orphanet, a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs.

Orpha Number: 59303

Neonatal ichthyosis-sclerosing cholangitis (NISCH syndrome) is a very rare complex ichthyosis syndrome characterized by scalp hypotrichosis, scarring alopecia, ichthyosis and sclerosing cholangitis.

Less than ten patients (from unrelated consanguineous Moroccan families and from Sweden) have been reported so far.

Clinical description
The ichthyosis presents with diffuse white scales sparing the skin folds, and is accompanied by scalp hypotrichosis, cicatricial alopecia, and sparse eyelashes/eyebrows. Additional manifestations may include oligodontia, hypodontia and enamel dysplasia. All patients present with neonatal sclerosing cholangitis with jaundice and pruritus, hepatomegaly, and biochemical cholestasis. Overall, the clinical picture mimics biliary atresia (see this term). Portal hypertension, patent extrahepatic bile duct obstruction and splenomegaly may also be present. Histology shows extensive fibrosis and bile duct proliferation. Leukocyte vacuolization is a common finding. The hepatic disease may have variable expressivity, ranging from a progressive disease resulting in liver failure to regression of cholestasis.

NISCH syndrome is caused by a mutation in the CLDN1 gene coding for the tight junction protein claudin-1.

Diagnostic methods
Diagnosis is based on clinical, biochemical and histological features.

Differential diagnosis
The differential diagnosis should include Dorfman-Chanarin syndrome and other syndromic forms of ichthyosis (see these terms).

Genetic counseling
NISCH syndrome shows an autosomal recessive pattern of inheritance.

Management and treatment
Treatments aim at improving symptoms and survival. Liver transplant remains the only effective treatment in case of liver failure. Ichthyosis is managed by hydration of the skin (topical application of creams and emollient oils), retinoids and sunlight exposure.

Visit the Orphanet disease page for more resources.


This table lists symptoms that people with this disease may have. For most diseases, symptoms will vary from person to person. People with the same disease may not have all the symptoms listed. This information comes from a database called the Human Phenotype Ontology (HPO) . The HPO collects information on symptoms that have been described in medical resources. The HPO is updated regularly. Use the HPO ID to access more in-depth information about a symptom.

Medical Terms Other Names
Learn More:
80%-99% of people have these symptoms
Enlarged liver
Yellow skin
Yellowing of the skin

[ more ]

Scarring alopecia of scalp
Sparse and thin eyebrow
Thin, sparse eyebrows
Sparse body hair
Sparse eyelashes
Scant eyelashes
Scanty eyelashes
Thin eyelashes

[ more ]

Sparse scalp hair
Reduced/lack of hair on scalp
Scalp hair, thinning
Sparse, thin scalp hair
sparse-absent scalp hair

[ more ]

Increased spleen size
5%-29% of people have these symptoms
Abnormality of dental enamel
Abnormal tooth enamel
Enamel abnormalities
Enamel abnormality

[ more ]

Acanthosis nigricans
Darkened and thickened skin
Failure of development of between one and six teeth
Failure of development of more than six teeth
Portal hypertension
Percent of people who have these symptoms is not available through HPO
Abnormality of blood and blood-forming tissues
Hair loss
Autosomal recessive inheritance
Bile duct inflammation
Dry skin
Epidermal acanthosis
Thickening of upper layer of skin
Hypoplasia of dental enamel
Underdeveloped teeth enamel
Thick hair
Increased hair density


Making a diagnosis for a genetic or rare disease can often be challenging. Healthcare professionals typically look at a person’s medical history, symptoms, physical exam, and laboratory test results in order to make a diagnosis. The following resources provide information relating to diagnosis and testing for this condition. If you have questions about getting a diagnosis, you should contact a healthcare professional.

Testing Resources

  • The Genetic Testing Registry (GTR) provides information about the genetic tests for this condition. The intended audience for the GTR is health care providers and researchers. Patients and consumers with specific questions about a genetic test should contact a health care provider or a genetics professional.


    Support and advocacy groups can help you connect with other patients and families, and they can provide valuable services. Many develop patient-centered information and are the driving force behind research for better treatments and possible cures. They can direct you to research, resources, and services. Many organizations also have experts who serve as medical advisors or provide lists of doctors/clinics. Visit the group’s website or contact them to learn about the services they offer. Inclusion on this list is not an endorsement by GARD.

    Organizations Supporting this Disease

      Learn more

      These resources provide more information about this condition or associated symptoms. The in-depth resources contain medical and scientific language that may be hard to understand. You may want to review these resources with a medical professional.

      Where to Start

      • DermNetNZ provides information on ichthyosis in general. DermNetNZ is an online resource about skin diseases developed by the New Zealand Dermatological Society Incorporated.

        In-Depth Information

        • The Monarch Initiative brings together data about this condition from humans and other species to help physicians and biomedical researchers. Monarch’s tools are designed to make it easier to compare the signs and symptoms (phenotypes) of different diseases and discover common features. This initiative is a collaboration between several academic institutions across the world and is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Visit the website to explore the biology of this condition.
        • Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) is a catalog of human genes and genetic disorders. Each entry has a summary of related medical articles. It is meant for health care professionals and researchers. OMIM is maintained by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 
        • Orphanet is a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs. Access to this database is free of charge.
        • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Ichthyosis, leukocyte vacuoles, alopecia, and sclerosing cholangitis. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.