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Skin is the biggest organ in the human body and covers the body"s whole external surface. The is made up of three layers, the epidermis, dermis, and the hypodermis, all 3 of i m sorry vary significantly in your anatomy and also function. The skin"s structure is consisted of of an intricate network which serves as the body’s early barrier against pathogens, UV light, and also chemicals, and mechanical injury. It also regulates temperature and also the amount of water released right into the environment. This write-up discusses the relevant anatomical structures of the skin’s epidermal layer, its structure, function, embryology, vascular supply, innervation, surgical considerations, and clinical relevance.

Skin Thickness

The thickness of each layer of the skin varies depending upon body region and categorized based upon the thickness that the epidermal and also dermal layers. Hairless skin discovered in the palms that the hands and soles that the feet is thickest because the epidermis contains an extra layer, the stratum lucidum. The upper ago is thought about thickest based on the thickness that the dermis, yet it is thought about “thin skin” histologically since the epidermal thickness lacks the stratum lucidum layer and is thinner 보다 hairless skin.

Layers that Epidermis

The layers of the epidermis incorporate the stratum basale (the deepest part of the epidermis), stratum spinosum, stratum granulosum, stratum lucidum, and also stratum corneum (the most superficial section of the epidermis).

Stratum basale, also well-known as stratum germinativum, is the deepest layer, separated native the dermis by the basement membrane (basal lamina) and attached to the basement membrane through hemidesmosomes. The cells uncovered in this layer space cuboidal come columnar mitotically active stem cell that are constantly developing keratinocytes. This layer additionally contains melanocytes.

Stratum spinosum, 8-10 cabinet layers, also recognized as the prickle cell layer contains irregular, polyhedral cells through cytoplasmic processes, sometimes referred to as “spines”, that prolong outward and contact surrounding cells by desmosomes. Dendritic cells deserve to be discovered in this layer.

Stratum granulosum, 3-5 cabinet layers, contains diamond shame cells through keratohyalin granules and lamellar granules. Keratohyalin granules save on computer keratin precursors that ultimately aggregate, crosslink, and form bundles. The lamellar granules save on computer the glycolipids that get secreted to the surface ar of the cells and role as a glue, maintaining the cells stuck together.

Stratum lucidum, 2-3 cell layers, present in thicker skin discovered in the palms and soles, is a thin clear great consisting of eleidin i beg your pardon is a transformation product that keratohyalin.

Stratum corneum, 20-30 cell layers, is the uppermost layer, consisted of of keratin and horny scales made up of dead keratinocytes, known as anucleate squamous cells. This is the layer i m sorry varies most in thickness, particularly in callused skin. Within this layer, the dead keratinocytes secrete defensins which are component of our an initial immune defense.

Cells of the Epidermis


Keratinocytes space the predominant cell type of epidermis and originate in the basal layer, develop keratin, and also are responsible for the formation of the epidermal water barrier by making and also secreting lipids. Keratinocytes also regulate calcium absorb by the activation of cholesterol precursors by UVB irradiate to form vitamin D.


Melanocytes are obtained from neural comb cells and also primarily produce melanin, which is responsible because that the pigment of the skin. They are found between cells of stratum basale and produce melanin. UVB irradiate stimulates melanin secretion which is protective against UV radiation, acting together a integrated sunscreen. Melanin is developed during the counter of tyrosine to DOPA by the enzyme tyrosinase. Melanin climate travels from cell to cabinet by a procedure that counts on the lengthy processes expanding from the melanocytes come the surrounding epidermal cells. Melanin granules from melanocytes room transferred via the lengthy processes come the cytoplasm the basal keratinocyte. Melanin moved to neighboring keratinocytes through “pigment donation”; involves phagocytosis of advice of melanocyte procedures by keratinocytes.

Langerhans’ Cells

Langerhans cells, dendritic cells, room the skins an initial line defenders and also play a significant role in antigen presentation. This cells require special stains to visualize, primarily discovered in the stratum spinosum. These cells room the mesenchymal origin, derived from CD34 confident stem cells of bone marrow and are part of the mononuclear phagocytic system. They contain Birbeck granules, tennis racket shame cytoplasmic organelles. These cells express both MHC I and also MHC II molecules, uptake antigens in skin and transport come the lymph node.

Merkel Cells

Merkel cells are oval-shaped modification epidermal cells found in stratum basale, directly over the basement membrane. These cells offer a sensory function as mechanoreceptors for light touch, and also are most populous in fingertips, though likewise found in the palms, soles, oral, and also genital mucosa. They space bound to adjoining keratinocytes through desmosomes and contain intermediate keratin filaments and their membranes communicate with free nerve end in the skin.


The dermis is associated to the epidermis in ~ the level that the basement membrane and also consists of two layers, of connective tissue, the papillary and reticular layers i m sorry merge together without clean demarcation. The papillary layer is the top layer, thinner, composed of loose connective tissue and contacts epidermis. The reticular layer is the deeper layer, thicker, much less cellular, and consists of thick connective tissue/ majority of collagen fibers. The dermis homes the sweat glands, hair, hair follicles, muscles, sensory neurons, and also blood vessels.


The hypodermis is deep to the dermis and is likewise called subcutaneous fascia. The is the deepest layer of skin and contains adipose lobules in addition to some skin appendages favor the hair follicles, sensory neurons, and also blood vessels.

Structure and Function

The skin has plenty of functions. That serves as a barrier come water, invasion by microorganisms, mechanical and chemical trauma, and also damage indigenous UV light. The epidermal water obstacle established through the cell envelop, a layer the insoluble proteins on the inner surface of the plasma membrane. That is formed by cross-linking of little proline-rich proteins and also larger proteins like cystatin, desmoplakin, filaggrin and also contributes to strong mechanics the barrier. And also the lipid envelope, a lipid/hydrophobic class attached come the external surface of the plasma membrane. As keratinocytes in stratum spinosum create keratohyalin granules, they also produce lamellar bodies (containing a mixture the glycosphingolipids, phospholipids, and also ceramides) assembled in ~ Golgi.  Lamellar bodies’ contents are climate secreted by exocytosis right into extracellular spaces between the stratum granulosum and corneum. Skin is the very first site that immunological defense by the activity of the Langerhans cells in the epidermis which space dendritic epidermal T lymphocytes and part of the adaptive immune system. The skin preserves the body homeostasis by regulation temperature and water loss, while likewise serving both endocrine and exocrine functions. The endocrine functions include the manufacturing of vitamin D in the keratinocytes which room responsible for converting 7-dehydrocholesterol in the epidermis to vitamin D, with the assistance of UV light from the sun. The keratinocytes express the vitamin D receptor (VDR) and likewise contain the enzymes required to convert vitamin D to its active type of 1, 25 dihydroxy vitamin D. The meaning of the VDR is that stimulation of that plays a function in the proliferation the the stratum basale and also differentiation that keratinocytes together they relocate upwards in the epidermis. The exocrine attributes of the skin are by means of the sweat and also sebaceous glands. An additional important duty of the skin is a sensation to touch, heat, cold, and pain by the plot of the nociceptors. The basic appearance, turgor, and also other qualities likewise give insight into the basic health the the body. <7><8><9><10> 


The epidermis is acquired from ectodermal tissue. The dermis and hypodermis are obtained from mesodermal tissue from somites. The mesoderm is also responsible because that the development of Langerhans cells. Neural stakes cells, responsible for devoted sensory nerve endings and melanocyte formation migrate into the epidermis throughout epidermal development. <11><12>

Blood Supply and Lymphatics

Blood vessels and lymphatic ship are found in the dermal great of the skin. Blood it is provided to the skin is an arrangement of two plexuses, the an initial lies between the papillary and also reticular great of the dermis and the 2nd lie between the dermis and subcutaneous tissues. It is provided to the epidermis is by method of the superficial arteriovenous plexus (subepidermal/papillary plexus). These vessels are essential for temperature regulation. The mechanism through which the body regulates temperature with the skin is really effective and works by raised blood flow to the skin, transferring heat from the body to the environment. The alters in blood circulation are regulated by the autonomic worried system, sympathetic stimulation bring about vasoconstriction (heat retention) and also while vasodilation outcomes in heat loss. Vasodilation that the blood ship is the an answer to boosted body temperature and is the an outcome of inhibition that the sorry centers in the posterior hypothalamus whereas reduced body temperature will cause vasoconstriction that skin blood vessels. <13> <14>


Nerves of the skin encompass both somatic and also autonomic nerves. The somatic sensory system is responsible for pain (nociceptors), temperature, light touch, discriminative touch, vibration, pressure, and proprioception medicated mostly by specialized cutaneous receptors/end organs including Merkel disks, Pacinian corpuscles, Meissner’s corpuscles, and also Ruffini corpuscles. The autonomic innervation is responsible because that the regulate of the ton of the vasculature, pilomotor stimulation in ~ the hair root, and sweating. The free nerve endings extend into the epidermis and also sense pain, heat, and cold. They are most numerous in the stratum granulosum layer and also surround many hair follicles. Merkel disks sense light touch and also reach the stratum basale layer. The other nerve endings are uncovered in the deeper parts of the skin and also include the Pacinian corpuscle i m sorry senses deep pressure, Meissner’s corpuscle i beg your pardon senses low-frequency stimulation in ~ the level that the dermal papillae, and Ruffini corpuscles which sense pressure. <15><16><17>


The arrector pili muscles space bundles that smooth muscle fibers that attach to the connective tissue sheath the hair follicles. Once the muscles contract, they pull the hair follicle outward causing the hair erecting increase but likewise compresses the sebaceous glands, resulting in the cheap of their contents. Hair go not leave perpendicularly, however instead in ~ an angle. This erection that hair also produces goosebumps, the bumpy figure of the skin. <18>

Physiologic Variants

Skin is repeatedly shedding and also desquamating and varies slightly depending upon the body region. Over there are much more layers of cells in thicker hairless skin with secondary layer, known as the stratum lucidum. Overall, the process of cell division, desquamation, and also shedding go together follows:

Cell division occurs in stratum basale/germinativum. One cell remains, another cell is thrust toward the surface. Basal cells begin synthesis of tonofilaments (composed of keratin) which space grouped into bundles (tonofibrils).
Cells are pushed into stratum spinosum. In the upper part of the spinous layer, cells begin to create keratohyalin granules having actually intermediate-associated proteins, filaggrin, and trichohyalin; helps accumulation keratin filaments and conversion the granular cells to cornified cells, i.e. Keratinization. Cells likewise produce lamellar bodies.
Cells are pushed into stratum granulosum and also become flattened and also diamond shaped. The cell accumulate keratohyalin granules mixed between tonofibrils.
Cells continue to stratum corneum whereby they flatten and also lose organelles and nuclei.  The keratohyalin granules turn tonofibrils right into a homogenous keratin matrix.

Surgical Considerations

Langer’s Lines, additionally known together cleavage lines, are topological lines offered to specify the tension of the skin, equivalent to the alignment that collagen and elastic fibers in the reticular dermis. Surgical incisions made follow me these lines, less scarring will certainly occur. <21>

Clinical Significance

There are countless clinically far-ranging aspects of the skin, including the dermatomes that the skin, skin segment divided based upon the afferent nerves they room supplied through which are numbered according to the level that spinal vertebral native which lock arise. Over there are seven cervical, twelve thoracic, five lumbar, and five sacral. Particular diseases favor shingles, resulted in by varicella-zoster infection, have actually pain sensation and eruptive rashes the involve a dermatomal distribution. Dermatomes are valuable in the diagnosis the vertebral spinal injury levels. As well as the dermatomes, the cells of the epidermis room susceptible come neoplastic transforms resulting in assorted cancer types. Some autoimmune and also immunological conditions target the desmosomes and also hemidesmosomes founds in the epidermis. Specific infections can likewise disrupt the integrity of the epidermis in addition to drug reaction that current variably together well.

Squamous cabinet carcinoma is cancer that arises native mutated keratinocytes, usually because of UV damages in people with form I or II skin types (light skin, blue or eco-friendly eyes, red or blonde hair, burn and also never tan) and often appear as scaly, flaky, special red spot that may bleed or even appear wart-like. This form of skin cancer have the right to metastasize. Squamous cabinet carcinoma might arise indigenous actinic keratosis, i m sorry is additionally caused through sun damage to the epidermal class of skin and may have cutaneous horns. Basal cabinet carcinoma is a cancer of the basal layers of the epidermis and also is much less likely come metastasize. This kind of skin cancer is much more common in sun-exposed areas and also often show up are pearly papules ~ above the face, with telangiectasias and ulcerate easily. Melanomas space cancers the the melanocytes and have a high metastatic potential, considerably mediated by the depth of the lesion. Melanomas deserve to be discovered anywhere on the body, room usually irregularly pigmented yet can be amelanotic. Langerhans cell Histiocytosis is a form of cancer whereby Langerhans cells accumulate in the human body and result in the formation of granulomas, regularly in the bones, resulting in bone pain. This granulomas can additionally appear in the skin prefer rashes, erythematous papules or blisters. An amazing association v this condition is the effect of the pituitary gland, which deserve to be affected and individuals may current with diabetes insipidus, infertility, or various other endocrine diseases due to inadequate hormones. Various other serious and deadly symptom are because of pancytopenia (anemia, thrombocytopenia, leukocytopenia) together a direct an answer to overcrowding by the Langerhans cells. Merkel cell carcinoma is an unusual cancer the the Merkel cells and is categorized as neuroendocrine little cell carcinoma

Pemphigus vulgaris is one autoimmune an illness that targets the intercellular proteins, desmosomes, that attach the keratinocytes to every other. Blisters kind within the epidermis and are quickly ruptured, resulting in acantholysis histologically. This an illness is linked with a hopeful nikolsky sign, peeling far from the epidermis with rubbing of that area. Bullous Pemphigoid is one more blistering an illness that outcomes in tense subepidermal blisters in enlarge populations, that are because of antibodies that target the hemidesmosomes that connect the epidermis in ~ the level of the basement membrane come the extracellular matrix of the dermis. This problem is not acantholytic and is not associated with a confident nikolsky sign.

Infections that impact the integrity of the skin incorporate scalded skin syndrome led to by the exfoliative toxin released by staphylococcal aureus bacteria infection. This infection results in peeling away of the skin, positive nikolsky, an figure of a major burn (very red), and fever. Drug reactions like dress syndrome, erythema multiforme, Stevens-Johnsons syndrome, and also Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis syndrome space often linked with specific medications that encompass sulfa-containing drugs, NSAIDs, and also anti-seizure medications. <22><23><24><25><26><27><28><29>

Other Issues

The epidermal layer of skin contains much of our regular flora and also the microbiome the the epidermis varies based on the human body region. The microorganisms that inhabit ours skin surface ar is nonpathogenic and also can it is in commensal or mutualistic in nature. The bacteria that have tendency to predominate are staphylococci epidermidis, aureus, cutibacterium acnes, Corynebacterium, Streptococcus, candida and clostridium perfringens. As soon as the safety skin barrier is altered, one infection can occur.  <30>




Histology, Trichodysplasia spinulosa, Trichodysplasia spinulosa polyomavirus, Healthy manage on top, TS skin ~ above the bottom, Skin over view, Epidermis, Hair follicle, Acanthosis, Eosinophilic protein granules, trichohyalin, that Stain. Added by Kazem (more...)

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