Search databaseBooksAll DatabasesAssemblyBiocollectionsBioProjectBioSampleBioSystemsBooksClinVarConserved DomainsdbGaPdbVarGeneGenomeGEO DataSetsGEO ProfilesGTRHomoloGeneIdentical Protein net CatalogNucleotideOMIMPMCPopSetProteinProtein ClustersProtein household ModelsPubChem BioAssayPubChem CompoundPubChem SubstancePubMedSNPSRAStructureTaxonomyToolKitToolKitAllToolKitBookgh Bookshelf. A service of the nationwide Library of Medicine, nationwide Institutes of Health.

You are watching: The layer that contains the mitotic viable cells of the epidermis.

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



Skin is the biggest organ in the body and covers the body"s entire external surface. That is made up of three layers, the epidermis, dermis, and the hypodermis, all 3 of i beg your pardon vary significantly in your anatomy and also function. The skin"s framework is made up of an intricate network which serves together the body’s initial barrier against pathogens, UV light, and chemicals, and mechanical injury. It also regulates temperature and the amount of water released into the environment. This short article discusses the appropriate anatomical frameworks of the skin’s epidermal layer, that is structure, function, embryology, vascular supply, innervation, operation considerations, and clinical relevance.

Skin Thickness

The thickness of each layer that the skin varies relying on body an ar and categorized based upon the thickness the the epidermal and dermal layers. Hairless skin uncovered in the palms the the hands and also soles of the feet is thickest due to the fact that the epidermis consists of an extra layer, the stratum lucidum. The upper ago is thought about thickest based upon the thickness of the dermis, yet it is thought about “thin skin” histologically since the epidermal thickness lacks the stratum lucidum layer and is thinner than hairless skin.

Layers that Epidermis

The class of the epidermis encompass the stratum basale (the deepest part of the epidermis), stratum spinosum, stratum granulosum, stratum lucidum, and also stratum corneum (the most superficial portion of the epidermis).

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

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

Stratum granulosum, 3-5 cell layers, contains diamond shame cells through keratohyalin granules and also lamellar granules. Keratohyalin granules save keratin precursors that eventually aggregate, crosslink, and kind bundles. The lamellar granules save the glycolipids that get secreted come the surface of the cells and function as a glue, keeping the cells stuck together.

Stratum lucidum, 2-3 cabinet layers, present in more thick skin uncovered in the palms and also soles, is a slim clear great consisting of eleidin which is a revolution product that keratohyalin.

Stratum corneum, 20-30 cell layers, is the uppermost layer, made up of keratin and also horny scales made up of dead keratinocytes, known as anucleate squamous cells. This is the layer i beg your pardon varies many in thickness, specifically in callused skin. In ~ this layer, the dead keratinocytes secrete defensins which are part of our an initial immune defense.

Cells of the Epidermis


Keratinocytes are the primary cell kind of epidermis and originate in the basal layer, produce keratin, and are responsible because that the formation of the epidermal water barrier by making and also secreting lipids. Keratinocytes also regulate calcium absorption by the activation that cholesterol precursors by UVB light to kind vitamin D.


Melanocytes are derived from neural crest cells and also primarily produce melanin, i m sorry is responsible because that the pigment of the skin. They room found in between cells the stratum basale and also produce melanin. UVB irradiate stimulates melanin cheap which is protective against UV radiation, acting together a built-in sunscreen. Melanin is created during the counter of tyrosine to DOPA through the enzyme tyrosinase. Melanin climate travels from cabinet to cell by a process that relies on the long processes extending from the melanocytes to the neighboring epidermal cells. Melanin granules indigenous melanocytes room transferred via the lengthy processes to the cytoplasm that basal keratinocyte. Melanin transferred to neighboring keratinocytes by “pigment donation”; involves phagocytosis of tips of melanocyte procedures by keratinocytes.

Langerhans’ Cells

Langerhans cells, dendritic cells, are the skins an initial line defenders and play a far-reaching role in antigen presentation. These cells need special stains come visualize, primarily discovered in the stratum spinosum. These cells space the mesenchymal origin, derived from CD34 optimistic stem cells of bone marrow and are component of the mononuclear phagocytic system. They contain Birbeck granules, tennis racket shaped cytoplasmic organelles. This cells to express both MHC I and MHC II molecules, absorb antigens in skin and also transport to the lymph node.

Merkel Cells

Merkel cells are oval-shaped modified epidermal cells found in stratum basale, directly above the basement membrane. These cells offer a sensory function as mechanoreceptors because that light touch, and also are many populous in fingertips, though likewise found in the palms, soles, oral, and also genital mucosa. They space bound come adjoining keratinocytes by desmosomes and contain intermediate keratin filaments and their membranes interact with complimentary nerve end in the skin.


The dermis is linked to the epidermis in ~ the level that the basement membrane and consists of 2 layers, of connective tissue, the papillary and also reticular layers i m sorry merge together without clean demarcation. The papillary layer is the top layer, thinner, composed of loosened connective tissue and also contacts epidermis. The reticular layer is the depth layer, thicker, less cellular, and consists of thick connective tissue/ majority of collagen fibers. The dermis houses the sweat glands, hair, hair follicles, muscles, sensory neurons, and blood vessels.


The hypodermis is deep come the dermis and is likewise called subcutaneous fascia. The is the deepest layer of skin and contains adipose lobules along with some skin appendages prefer the hair follicles, sensory neurons, and blood vessels.

Structure and Function

The skin has plenty of functions. It serves together a barrier to water, invasion by microorganisms, mechanical and chemical trauma, and damage indigenous UV light. The epidermal water obstacle established through the cell envelop, a layer that insoluble proteins on the inner surface of the plasma membrane. That is developed by cross-linking of tiny proline-rich proteins and larger proteins choose cystatin, desmoplakin, filaggrin and also contributes to solid mechanics the barrier. And also the lipid envelope, a lipid/hydrophobic layer attached come the outer surface of the plasma membrane. Together keratinocytes in stratum spinosum develop keratohyalin granules, they also produce lamellar bodies (containing a mixture of glycosphingolipids, phospholipids, and also ceramides) assembled in ~ Golgi.  Lamellar bodies’ components are climate secreted by exocytosis into extracellular spaces between the stratum granulosum and corneum. Skin is the very first site the immunological defense through the action of the Langerhans cell in the epidermis which room dendritic epidermal T lymphocytes and part of the adaptive immune system. The skin preserves the body homeostasis by regulation temperature and water loss, while also serving both endocrine and exocrine functions. The endocrine functions include the manufacturing of vitamin D in the keratinocytes which space responsible because that converting 7-dehydrocholesterol in the epidermis come vitamin D, v the help of UV irradiate from the sun. The keratinocytes refer the vitamin D receptor (VDR) and additionally contain the enzymes necessary to transform vitamin D to its active kind of 1, 25 dihydroxy vitamin D. The significance of the VDR is the stimulation of that plays a function in the proliferation of the stratum basale and also differentiation the keratinocytes as they move upwards in the epidermis. The exocrine functions of the skin room by method of the sweat and also sebaceous glands. One more important function of the skin is a sensation to touch, heat, cold, and pain through the actions of the nociceptors. The basic appearance, turgor, and also other qualities additionally give understanding into the basic health that the body. <7><8><9><10> 


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

Blood Supply and also Lymphatics

Blood vessels and also lymphatic vessels are found in the dermal class of the skin. Blood it is provided to the skin is an plan of two plexuses, the an initial lies between the papillary and also reticular class of the dermis and the second lie in between the dermis and subcutaneous tissues. It is provided to the epidermis is by way of the superficial arteriovenous plexus (subepidermal/papillary plexus). These vessels are crucial for temperature regulation. The mechanism by which the body regulates temperature v the skin is an extremely effective and works by raised blood flow to the skin, transferring warmth from the human body to the environment. The changes in blood flow are controlled by the autonomic concerned system, sorry stimulation causing vasoconstriction (heat retention) and while vasodilation outcomes in heat loss. Vasodilation that the blood vessels is the solution to enhanced body temperature and also is the result of inhibition the the sympathetic centers in the posterior hypothalamus whereas diminished body temperature will reason vasoconstriction that skin blood vessels. <13> <14>


Nerves that the skin incorporate both somatic and autonomic nerves. The somatic sensory mechanism is responsible for pain (nociceptors), temperature, irradiate touch, discriminative touch, vibration, pressure, and also proprioception medicated mainly by specialized cutaneous receptors/end organs consisting of Merkel disks, Pacinian corpuscles, Meissner’s corpuscles, and also Ruffini corpuscles. The autonomic innervation is responsible for the control of the ton of the vasculature, pilomotor stimulation at the hair root, and sweating. The free nerve endings prolong into the epidermis and also sense pain, heat, and also cold. They are most numerous in the stratum granulosum layer and surround many hair follicles. Merkel disks feeling light touch and also reach the stratum basale layer. The various other nerve endings are found in the deeper portions of the skin and also include the Pacinian corpuscle i m sorry senses deep pressure, Meissner’s corpuscle i m sorry senses low-frequency stimulation at the level of the dermal papillae, and Ruffini corpuscles which sense pressure. <15><16><17>


The arrector chili muscles space bundles the smooth muscle fibers that connect to the connective tissue sheath of hair follicles. Once the muscles contract, they traction the hair follicle outward leading to the hair erecting up but additionally compresses the sebaceous glands, bring about the secretion of their contents. Hair does not departure perpendicularly, but instead in ~ an angle. This erection that hair likewise produces goosebumps, the bumpy figure of the skin. <18>

Physiologic Variants

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

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

Surgical Considerations

Langer’s Lines, also known together cleavage lines, space topological lines supplied to specify the stress and anxiety of the skin, corresponding to the alignment that collagen and elastic yarn in the reticular dermis. Surgical incisions made along these lines, much less scarring will certainly occur. <21>

Clinical Significance

There are numerous clinically significant aspects of the skin, including the dermatomes that the skin, skin segment divided based on the afferent nerves they are supplied by which are numbered follow to the level the spinal vertebral from which they arise. There are seven cervical, twelve thoracic, five lumbar, and five sacral. Certain diseases choose shingles, caused 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. Aside from the dermatomes, the cells of the epidermis room susceptible to neoplastic transforms resulting in miscellaneous cancer types. Some autoimmune and also immunological conditions target the desmosomes and hemidesmosomes founds in the epidermis. Details infections can also disrupt the integrity of the epidermis together with drug reaction that present variably together well.

Squamous cell carcinoma is cancer the arises from mutated keratinocytes, usually as result of UV damage in people with form I or II skin types (light skin, blue or environment-friendly eyes, red or blonde hair, burn and also never tan) and also often appear as scaly, flaky, thick red patches that may bleed or even appear wart-like. This type of skin cancer deserve to metastasize. Squamous cell carcinoma may arise indigenous actinic keratosis, i m sorry is also caused by sun damage to the epidermal layer of skin and also may have cutaneous horns. Basal cabinet carcinoma is a cancer of the basal layers of the epidermis and is much much less likely to metastasize. This type of skin cancer is much more common in sun-exposed areas and also often appear are pearly papules on the face, v telangiectasias and also ulcerate easily. Melanomas space cancers of the melanocytes and also have a high metastatic potential, significantly mediated by the depth of the lesion. Melanomas have the right to be discovered anywhere on the body, space usually irregularly pigmented yet can it is in amelanotic. Langerhans cell Histiocytosis is a form of cancer wherein Langerhans cell accumulate in the body and an outcome in the formation of granulomas, frequently in the bones, leading to bone pain. These granulomas can likewise appear in the skin favor rashes, erythematous papules or blisters. An amazing association v this problem is the impact of the pituitary gland, which deserve to be influenced and people may present with diabetes insipidus, infertility, or various other endocrine diseases due to inadequate hormones. Various other serious and deadly complications are as result of pancytopenia (anemia, thrombocytopenia, leukocytopenia) together a direct solution to overcrowding through the Langerhans cells. Merkel cabinet carcinoma is an unusual cancer the the Merkel cells and also is categorized together neuroendocrine little cell carcinoma

Pemphigus vulgaris is one autoimmune condition that targets the intercellular proteins, desmosomes, that attach the keratinocytes to every other. Blisters form within the epidermis and also are conveniently ruptured, causing acantholysis histologically. This condition is linked with a positive nikolsky sign, peeling away from the epidermis with rubbing of the area. Bullous Pemphigoid is an additional blistering an illness that results in tense subepidermal blisters in enlarge populations, the are due to antibodies that target the hemidesmosomes that affix the epidermis at 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 truth of the skin incorporate scalded skin syndrome resulted in by the exfoliative toxin released by staphylococcal aureus bacteria infection. This infection results in peeling away of the skin, positive nikolsky, an illustration of a major burn (very red), and also fever. Drug reaction like dress syndrome, erythema multiforme, Stevens-Johnsons syndrome, and also Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis syndrome space often linked with details medications that encompass sulfa-containing drugs, NSAIDs, and anti-seizure medications. <22><23><24><25><26><27><28><29>

Other Issues

The epidermal layer of skin contains much of our normal flora and the microbiome of the epidermis varies based upon the body region. The microorganisms the inhabit our skin surface is nonpathogenic and also can it is in commensal or mutualistic in nature. The bacteria that tend to predominate room staphylococci epidermidis, aureus, cutibacterium acnes, Corynebacterium, Streptococcus, candida and also clostridium perfringens. Once the safety skin obstacle is altered, one infection deserve to occur.  <30>




Histology, Trichodysplasia spinulosa, Trichodysplasia spinulosa polyomavirus, Healthy control on top, TS skin top top the bottom, Skin end view, Epidermis, Hair follicle, Acanthosis, Eosinophilic protein granules, trichohyalin, the Stain. Contributed by Kazem (more...)

Bonifant H, Holloway S. A testimonial of the effects of ageing top top skin integrity and wound healing. Br J ar Nurs. 2019 Mar 01;24(Sup3):S28-S33.
Herskovitz I, Macquhae F, Fox JD, Kirsner RS. Skin movement, wound fix and breakthrough of engineered skin. Exp Dermatol. 2016 Feb;25(2):99-100.
Ravara B, Hofer C, Kern H, Guidolin D, Porzionato A, De Caro R, Albertin G. Dermal papillae flattening that thigh skin in Conus Cauda Syndrome. Eur J Transl Myol. 2018 Nov 02;28(4):7914.
Rzepka K, Schaarschmidt G, Nagler M, Wohlrab J. . J Dtsch Dermatol Ges. 2005 Dec;3(12):962-73.
Karim N, Phinney BS, Salemi M, Wu PW, Naeem M, Rice RH. Human stratum corneum proteomics expose cross-linking the a vast spectrum of protein in cornified envelopes. Exp Dermatol. 2019 May;28(5):618-622.
Brown TM, Krishnamurthy K. StatPearls . StatPearls Publishing; treasure Island (FL): may 10, 2021. Histology, Dermis.
O"Connell RL, Rusby JE. Anatomy relevant to conservative mastectomy. Gland Surg. 2015 Dec;4(6):476-83.
Andersson T, Ertürk Bergdahl G, Saleh K, Magnúsdóttir H, Stødkilde K, Andersen CBF, Lundqvist K, Jensen A, Brüggemann H, Lood R. Usual skin bacteria protect their host from oxidative stress and anxiety through secreted antioxidant RoxP. Sci Rep. 2019 Mar 05;9(1):3596.
Losquadro WD. Anatomy that the Skin and the Pathogenesis the Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer. Facial Plast Surg Clin phibìc Am. 2017 Aug;25(3):283-289.
Slominski AT, Manna PR, Tuckey RC. ~ above the duty of skin in the regulation of local and systemic steroidogenic activities. Steroids. 2015 Nov;103:72-88.
Fenner J, Silverberg NB. Skin diseases associated with atopic dermatitis. Clin Dermatol. 2018 Sep - Oct;36(5):631-640.
Hall BK. Germ layers, the neural crest and emergent company in development and evolution. Genesis. 2018 Jun;56(6-7):e23103.
Denkler KA, Denkler C. The Direction that Optimal Skin Incisions obtained from Striae Distensae. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2015 Jul;136(1):120e-121e.
Schlader ZJ, Vargas NT. Regulation of human body Temperature by Autonomic and Behavioral Thermoeffectors. Exerc sports Sci Rev. 2019 Apr;47(2):116-126.
Iizaka S. Skin hydration and lifestyle-related determinants in community-dwelling larger people. Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2017 Sep;72:121-126.
Stecco C, Pirri C, Fede C, fan C, Giordani F, Stecco L, Foti C, De Caro R. Dermatome and also fasciatome. Clin Anat. 2019 Oct;32(7):896-902.
Iheanacho F, Vellipuram AR. StatPearls . StatPearls Publishing; treasure Island (FL): Sep 29, 2020. Physiology, Mechanoreceptors.
Murphrey MB, Agarwal S, Zito PM. StatPearls . StatPearls Publishing; endowment Island (FL): Sep 2, 2020. Anatomy, Hair.
Sanz-Gómez N, Freije A, Gandarillas A. Keratinocyte Differentiation by circulation Cytometry. Techniques Mol Biol. 2020;2109:83-92.
Wagner T, Beer L, Gschwandtner M, Eckhart L, Kalinina P, Laggner M, Ellinger A, Gruber R, Kuchler U, Golabi B, Tschachler E, Mildner M. The Differentiation-Associated Keratinocyte Protein Cornifelin Contributes come Cell-Cell Adhesion the Epidermal and Mucosal Keratinocytes. J Invest Dermatol. 2019 Nov;139(11):2292-2301.e9.
Lemperle G, Knapp D, Tenenhaus M. Minimal Scar development After Orthopaedic Skin Incisions Along main Folding Lines. J Bone joint Surg Am. 2019 Mar 06;101(5):392-399.
Tenea D, Dinkel J, Becker JC, valve der Walt E. Merkel cell Carcinoma the the Head in a Young afri Albino Woman through HIV/HTLV-1 Coinfection linked with lot of Squamous cell Carcinomas. Case Rep Dermatol. 2019 Jan-Apr;11(1):113-122.
PDQ Adult therapy Editorial Board. PDQ Cancer info Summaries . National Cancer academy (US); Bethesda (MD): Jun 30, 2021. Melanoma therapy (PDQ®): patience Version.
Cribier B. Ann Dermatol Venereol. 2019 May;146 Suppl 2:IIS10-IIS15.

See more: How To Say Thank You So Much In Arabic In 13 Ways, Top 5 Ways To Say Thank You In Arabic!

PDQ Cancer genes Editorial Board. PDQ Cancer info Summaries . National Cancer academy (US); Bethesda (MD): Jul 6, 2021. Genetics of Skin Cancer (PDQ®): Health experienced Version.
Izumi K, Bieber K, Ludwig RJ. Current Clinical Trials in Pemphigus and also Pemphigoid. Front Immunol. 2019;10:978.
Jordan KS. Staphylococcal Scalded Skin Syndrome: A Pediatric Dermatological Emergency. Adv Emerg Nurs J. 2019 Apr/Jun;41(2):129-134.
Vern-Gross TZ, Kowal-Vern A. Erythema multiforme, Stevens Johnson syndrome, and toxic epidermal necrolysis syndrome in patients undergoing radiation therapy: a literature review. To be J Clin Oncol. 2014 Oct;37(5):506-13.
PDQ Pediatric therapy Editorial Board. PDQ Cancer details Summaries . National Cancer academy (US); Bethesda (MD): Aug 10, 2021. Langerhans cell Histiocytosis treatment (PDQ®): patient Version.
Sander MA, Sander MS, Isaac-Renton JL, Croxen MA. The Cutaneous Microbiome: ramifications for skin science Practice. J Cutan Med Surg. 2019 Jul/Aug;23(4):436-441.

This publication is distributed under the terms of the an imaginative Commons Attribution 4.0 worldwide License (, which patent use, duplication, adaptation, distribution, and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give ideal credit to the initial author(s) and also the source, a connect is noted to the creative Commons license, and any changes made space indicated.