The condition of anhidrosis is described in this review, and the latest theories on the causal factors are explored. The evidence supports the hypothesis that anhidrosis is an inappropriate response to prolonged climatic stress (generally combined heat and high humidity), which can be evoked in a small (∼10 ± 5%) proportion of the equine population. It is caused by gradual failure of the glandular secretory cell processes, initiated by desensitization and subsequent down-regulation of the cell receptors as a result of continued adrenaline-driven hyperactivity. It progresses through secretory failure and culminates in gradual, probably irreversible, glandular dedifferentiation and ultimate degeneration. There is a need for considerably more research on the secretory and transcriptional processes to document the changes arising within the glandular secretory mechanism as a prelude to development of a corrective treatment.
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