Minky Monday: Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome in Mink

A photo of an albino mink with the text "Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome in Mink" over it in white text

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Happy Minky Monday! 

Did you know that many human disorders can also be found in animals?  One such example is Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, or EDS, and mink. By understanding EDS in minks, we can not only enhance our knowledge of this disorder in animals, but also gain insight into the disorder in humans as well.

What is Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome?

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, or EDS is a group of connective tissue disorders characterized by hypermobility of the joints and fragile, elastic skin. Named after physicians Edward Ehlers and Henri-Alexandre Danlos, EDS has been studied extensively in humans, where up to nine different types are known. EDS was first discovered in captive minks in fur farms, and the condition manifests similarly to how it does in humans, with fragile skin that tears easily and joint hypermobility.

Genetic Factors of Mink with EDS

EDS in minks is inherited in an autosomal dominant manner, similar to some types of EDS in humans. While the specific genetic mutations causing EDS in minks are not yet fully understood, studies indicate that a recessive gene could also be the cause in some rare cases. Further research is needed to clarify the genetic background and metabolic changes in both minks and humans with EDS.

Biochemical Changes in Minks with EDS

Research has shown that minks with EDS exhibit significant biochemical changes when compared to their unaffected counterparts. These changes include:

– A 39% increase in acetic acid extractable collagen per wet weight of skin tissue.

– A substantial increase in the activities of enzymes like prolyl hydroxylase, lysyl hydroxylase, and lysyl oxidase.

– Elevated rates of hydroxyproline formation and noncollagen protein synthesis.

These biochemical changes point to an increased rate of collagen synthesis, which may be a response to the weakened skin condition or a lack of regulatory control over collagen metabolism.

Examples of Mice with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

How Mink with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Can Help Humans

Studying Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) in mink could be a game changer for advancing human EDS research and potentially finding a cure. The similarities in the genetic and biochemical aspects of the disorder between minks and humans make minks a valuable model for study. By understanding the specific genetic mutations and deregulated biochemical pathways in minks, researchers can identify potential targets for drug development and other therapeutic interventions in humans. 


In conclusion, leveraging our current understanding of EDS in minks could be a critical step toward developing effective, targeted treatments for humans suffering from this complex disorder.

By examining the biochemical and genetic factors in minks, researchers can gain valuable insights on this disease. As we continue to explore this fascinating subject, we move closer to a more comprehensive understanding of EDS across species.


Counts, D. F., Knighten, P., & Hegreberg, G. (1977). Biochemical Changes in The Skin of Mink With Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome: Increased Collagen Biosynthesis in The Dermis of Affected Mink. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 69(6), 521–526. https://doi.org/10.1111/1523-1747.ep12687965

N. Norodd Nes. (1988). Beautiful fur animals – and their colour genetics. http://www.ifasanet.org/index.php/sci…

Vroman, R., Malfait, A.-M., Miller, R. E., Malfait, F., & Syx, D. (2021). Animal Models of Ehlers–Danlos Syndromes: Phenotype, Pathogenesis, and Translational Potential. Frontiers in Genetics, 12. https://doi.org/10.3389/fgene.2021.726474


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