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You are watching: Which layer contains most of the epidermal derivatives?

StatPearls . Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-.



Skin is component of the integumentary system and also considered to be the largest organ the the human body. There are three key layers the skin: the epidermis, the dermis, and also the hypodermis (subcutaneous fat). The focus of this subject is ~ above the epidermal and also dermal class of skin. Skin appendages such as sweat glands, hair follicles,  and sebaceous glands space reviewed detailed elsewhere.<1>


The an initial and outermost class of skin is the epidermis. The epidermis is a stratified squamous epithelium that has four to five layers depending upon its location:

Stratum Basalis (Basal cell layer): This layer is deepest and closest come the dermis. It is mitotically energetic and includes melanocytes, a solitary row that keratinocytes, and also stem cells. Melanocytes room the cell form responsible for developing melanin, a substance that provides our skin that is color.  Keratinocytes native this layer evolve and mature together they travel outward/upward to create the staying layers.
Stratum Spinosum (prickle cell layer): This layer compromises most of the epidermis and also contains number of layers of cells associated by desmosomes. This desmosomes enable cells to remain tightly bound come one another and also resemble "spines" architecturally.
Stratum Granulosum (granular cabinet layer): This layer consists of several layers of cells the contain lipid-rich granules. In this layer, cells start to immortalize and also lose their nuclei, as they relocate away indigenous the nutrient located in the deeper tissue.
Stratum Lucidum: This layer only exists in the thick skin of soles and palms and consists the mostly immortalized cells.

Deep to the epidermis lies the dermis. It is a special layer the connective tissue consisting of collagen and elastin which allows for skin’s strength and also flexibility, respectively. The dermis additionally contains nerve endings, blood vessels, and adnexal frameworks such as hair shafts, sweat glands, and also sebaceous glands. The apical layer of dermis wrinkle to type papillae that extend into the epidermis prefer tiny finger-like projections and also is referred to as the papillary dermis, if the reduced layer of the dermis is described as the reticular dermis.

The hypodermis is the third and deepest great consisting mostly of adipose tissue.


There are 4 main features of the skin: sensation, thermoregulation, protection, and also metabolism <3>

Sensation: The skin includes many types of various receptors that sense pain, temperature, pressure, and touch.
Thermoregulation: Hair and sweat glands assist in the regulation of human body temperature to preserve homeostasis
Protection: The skin serves together the barrier between the inside and also outside the the body versus infection, chemical stress, thermal stress, and UV light
Metabolism: Adipose tissue in the hypodermis is an important in the production of Vitamin D and lipid storage.

Tissue Preparation

After perfect of a skin biopsy, the tissue is typically processed and also sectioned for evaluation with irradiate microscopy. Skin tissue processing techniques vary amongst laboratories; however, the paraffin technique is the most common. The standard actions for this procedure are fixation, dehydration, clearing, and also paraffin infiltration. Fresh organization is usually stored and also transferred in 10% neutral buffered formalin fixative, which helps maintain tissue architecture by cross-linking lysine residues. Specimens get embedded in wax prior to mounting top top glass slides because that viewing. However, wax is no soluble in water or alcohol; because of this the specimens need to undergo dehydration first. Alcohol dehydration is provided to remove water native the sample. Alcohol is then removed by xylene as they space miscible in a procedure referred to as "clearing." The tissue is inserted in a warmth paraffin wax i m sorry replaces the spaces i m sorry water previously occupied. After the blocks have cooled, they are reduced into slim slices, rehydrated with water, and then stained v stains such as hematoxylin and eosin. The amount of time because that this process is dependent on tissue size, temperature, and also reagents used.

Other methods to make sections for light microscopy are frozen sections and semithin sections. Frozen sections are completed by freeze tissue v liquid nitrogen and cutting it v a cold knife. This an approach is much faster than the paraffin technique. Semithin part are supplied to see fine detail and are accomplished by embedding sections in epoxy, allowing for diluent slices to be cut.

Specimens that need immunofluorescence undergo preservation in Michel"s or Zeus solution rather than formalin.

Histochemistry and Cytochemistry

Langerhans cell and also melanocytes contain S-100.<4> Immunofluorescence for antibodies versus hemidesmosomes and desmosomes are commonly used come differentiate in between blistering dermatoses prefer pemphigus vulgaris and also bullous pemphigoid.  Immunomapping may be helpful in differentiating heritable blistering disorders.

Microscopy Light

Different layers of the epidermis room visible by examining sectioned epidermal tissue under hematoxylin and eosin staining under light microscopy:

Stratum Basalis: characterized by cuboidal or short columnar cells with basophilic cytoplasm and melanocytes. Melanocytes existing as rounded cabinet bodies through clear cytoplasm and also slender cytoplasmic processes
Stratum Spinosum: identified by desmosomes it is registered polyhedral shaped keratinocytes v a ring to oval nuclei and prominent nucleoli. Desmosome junctions appear as spines between cells
Stratumgranulosum: characterized by keratinocytes with dense, ovoid, and also basophilic keratohyalin granules
Stratumlucidum: characterized by a thin homogenous eosinophilic zone the is difficult to recognize in H&E sections

The dermis is an ext visible through a Verhoeff’s stain. The interlacing collagen appears in red v elastic fibers in black.<5> Blood vessels are surrounded by round, clear cells through well-defined borders named glomus cells.

Microscopy Electron

Use that electron microscopy that skin, though limited, have the right to be helpful in identifying certain cell species such as Langerhans cells. This cells are characterized by Birbeck granules that appear as tennis rackets due to zipper like cross striations through a bulbous ending. 


Melanocytes room neural crest-derived cells that sit in the stratum basalis the skin and hair follicles. These cells space responsible for the production of melanin from tyrosine. Melanin is a pigment that serves to protect DNA indigenous UV radiation.  Different skin tones are due to differences in the amount of melanin, size, and also density once moved from melanocytes to keratinocytes via melanosomes, rather than the number of melanocytes. Destruction and also unregulated proliferation that melanocytes lead to various pathologies such as vitiligo and melanoma.<6>

Langerhans cells are dedicated dendritic cells uncovered predominantly in the skin. Lot like macrophages, this cells are derived from bone marrow monocytes and also are qualified of antigen presentation.<7> Malignant proliferation of this cells are an extremely rare and lead to a selection of illness such grouped as Langerhans cell histiocytoses.

Parakeratosis refers to corneocytes in the stratum corneum with kept nuclei. Though typical is some parts of the skin, this is abnormal is most. Parakeratosis is a sign of boosted cell turnover and also can existing in obstacle such as psoriasis.<8>

Hyperkeratosis refers to the thickening of the stratum corneum because of an abnormal increase in keratin. The is often existing in a condition like eczema, warts, and corns.

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Clinical Significance

There is a big amount of pathology associated with skin due to the fact that of the vastness, varied cell types, and constant proliferation.

Inflammatory dermatoses include illness such as eczema, psoriasis, acne vulgaris, lichen planus, and also contact dermatitis
Blistering dermatoses include conditions such together pemphigus vulgaris, bullous pemphigoid, and dermatitis herpetiformis
Epithelial tumors include neoplasms such as basal cell carcinoma, squamous cabinet carcinoma, and seborrheic keratosis
Disorders the pigmentation and melanocytes include diseases such together vitiligo, albinism, nevus, and melanoma