Document Detail

The organization of human epidermis: functional epidermal units and phi proportionality.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  14675195     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The concept that mammalian epidermis is structurally organized into functional epidermal units has been proposed on the basis of stratum corneum (SC) architecture, proliferation kinetics, melanocyte:keratinocyte ratios (1:36), and, more recently, Langerhans cell: epidermal cell ratios (1:53). This article examines the concept of functional epidermal units in human skin in which the maintenance of phi (1.618034) proportionality provides a central organizing principle. The following empirical measurements were used: 75,346 nucleated epidermal cells per mm2, 1394 Langerhans cells per mm2, 1999 melanocytes per mm2, 16 (SC) layers, 900-microm2 corneocyte surface area, 17,778 corneocytes per mm2, 14-d (SC) turnover time, and 93,124 per mm2 total epidermal cells. Given these empirical data: (1) the number of corneocytes is a mean proportional between the sum of the Langerhans cell + melanocyte populations and the number of epidermal cells, 3393/17,778-17,778/93,124; (2) the ratio of nucleated epidermal cells over corneocytes is phi proportional, 75,346/17,778 approximately phi3; (3) assuming similar 14-d turnover times for the (SC) and Malpighian epidermis, the number of corneocytes results from subtraction of a cellular fraction equal to approximately 2/phi2 x the number of living cells, 75,436 - (2/phi2 x 75,346) approximately 17,778; and (4) if total epidermal turnover time equals (SC) turnover time x the ratio of living/dead cells, then compartmental turnover times are unequal (14 d for (SC) to 45.3 d for nucleated epidermis approximately 1/2phi) and cellular replacement rates are 52.9 corneocytes/69.3 keratinocytes per mm2 per h approximately 2/phi2. These empirically derived equivalences provide logicomathematical support for the presence of functional epidermal units in human skin. Validation of a phi proportional unit architecture in human epidermis will be important for tissue engineering of skin and the design of instruments for skin measurement.
Steven B Hoath; D G Leahy
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  The Journal of investigative dermatology     Volume:  121     ISSN:  0022-202X     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Invest. Dermatol.     Publication Date:  2003 Dec 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2003-12-16     Completed Date:  2004-01-29     Revised Date:  2007-11-14    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0426720     Medline TA:  J Invest Dermatol     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1440-6     Citation Subset:  IM    
Skin Sciences Institute, Children's Hospital Research Foundation, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio 45267-0541, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Epidermis / cytology*,  physiology*
Models, Biological*
Grant Support

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