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Skin - Structure and Function

39 terms by dani_mcfarlane

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What are the four functions of skin?

1. Protection (UV, mechanical,

chemical, thermal plus is a physical
barrier to invasion)
2. Thermoregulation
3. Sensation (Rc for touch, pressure,
pain, temp)
4. Metabolic (Subcutaneous fat as
energy, VitD synthesis)

What are the three layers of the skin?

1. Epidermis
2. Dermis
3. Subcutaneous fat

What are the four types of cells in the

epidermis? What are their functions?

1. Keratinocytes (squamous cells - 95%)

2. Melanocytes - melanin/colour
3. Langerhans' cells - immune function
4. Merkel cells - tactile function

What type of epithelium is the

epidermis (cell type)

keratinized stratified squamous

What two openings can be found in the


1. Endocrine sweat ducts

2. Hair follicles





What are the four layers of the

Epidermis? In what layer does cell
division occur? What layer is the most

S. Basalis - basal cell layer = cell division

S. Spinosum
S. Granulosum
S. Corneum - most differentiated,
mainly dead cells, looks like a basket

What is the main difference observed

in the epithelium between thick and
thin skin?

Thick skin has very dense and thick

stratum corneum. Thin skin has a think
layer of s. corneum where you can still
see the basket weave pattern

How are keratinocytes attached to one



What is the renewal rate of the


4 weeks. 2 weeks to get from basal

layer --> granular layer + 2 weeks to
cross s. corneum

The junction between the epidermis

and dermis is characterized by
downward folds of the epidermis called
________ which integrate with upward
projections of the dermis called

Rete Ridges (epidermis)

Dermal papillae (dermis)

What is hyperkeratosis? What are the

two different subtypes? How does this
present clinically?

Increased thickness of the stratum

corneum (chronic)
1. Orthokeratosis = no nuclei in s.
2. Parakeratosis - nuclei present in s.
Both present clinically as SCALE
Often occurs with acanthosis


(Acute Dermatitis)
Intracellular edema (edema btw
keratinocytes), looks like a juicy papule


Epidermal hyperplasia = thickening of

the epidermis (chronic)
Often occurs with hyperkeratosis


Thinning of the skin






Loss of attachment between

keratinocytes (desmosomes). Cell
separate and assume round shapes


Thickening of all layers of epidermis

and dermis

What type of epidermal change occurs

(histologically) in acute eczematous


What type of epidermal change occurs

(histologically) in Pemphigus Vulgaris?

Acantholysis - loss of desmosomal

connection, keratinocytes round up
and separate

What type of epidermal change has

occurred (histologically) when someone
has rough skin with increased skin
markings as a result of chronic


Melanocytes produce and secrete

melanin. What is melanin synthesized
from and where does this synthesis
take place?

Melanin is synthesized from tyrosine by

typrosinase enzyme. Synthesis occurs
in melanosomes

What factors contribute to the

difference in skin pigmentation?

1. Number and Size of melanosomes

2. Melanosome dispersion in the skin
Note: People of all races have similar
number of melanocytes

How do melanocytes help protect

against UV damage.

Melanocytes produce and secrete

melanin. Melanin synthesis occurs in
melanosomes. Melanosomes are
transferred to keratinocytes and cap
the keratinocyte nucleus protecting it
from UV damage.

The lips, digits and oral cavity are

abundant in what cell type? (in the

Merkel cells (tactile sensation)

Bullous pemphigoid is a blistering

disease that causes separation of _____
from ______.

Epidermis (basement membrane) from






Where are BPAg1 and BPAg2 located?

(Bullous Pemphigoid Antigens)

In the hemidesmosome

What are the two zones of the dermis?

Which one is superficial and which one
is deep? How are collagen fibers
arranged in each?

1. Papillary Dermis = superficial,

collagen is fine and loosely arranged
2. Reticular Dermis = deep, collagen is
thick and densely packed

Where in the skin are blood vessels,

lymphatics and nerves located?

Dermis contains two plexuses,
superficial and deep with connecting
capillaries. Free nerve endings convey
sensory info for touch, temp and pain

What are two functions of blood

vessels in the skin?

Temperature regulation and nutrition

With regards to temperature and heat

regulation, shunting blood to the
superficial plexus results in _______,
shunting blood to deep plexus results
in __________.

Superficial = heat loss

Deep = heat conservation

What is the function of eccrine sweat

glands? Where are they located?

Help regulate body temp by excreting

sweat onto the skin surface. Located
almost everywhere. Structure looks like
a ball of spaghetti with a straw to the
surface of the skin.

What glands are responsible for body


Apocrine sweat gland. Odour produced

by bacteria on the skin surface with the
apocrine sweat which is actually

Where are apocrine glads located (both

in the skin microscopically and around
the body?)

Gland located deep in the dermis. Duct

drains into mid-hair follicle. Located in
axilla, anogenital region, and as
modified glands in the external ear
canal, eyelid, and breast (mammary

What are the two types of hairs?

Vellus (light and fine)

Terminal (dark and thick - hormonal





What determines the pigment of a


The amount of melanocytes in the cells

of the hair bulb (matrix).

What are the two components of the

pilosebaceous unit? What disease is
produced by messed up pilosebaceous

1. Sebaceous gland
2. Hair follicle (with pore at the top)
Acne (open or closed comedone)

What is the primary event in the

pathogenesis of acne?

Development of comedones

What are the three phases of the hair

growth cycle and what occurs in each

1. Anagen - growing
2. Catogen - regressing
3. Telogen - resting

What is secreted by sebaceous glands?

Where are they located
(microscopically and on the body)?

Sebum, secretion controlled by

androgen activity
Located in the dermis, drain into hair
Most prominent on scalp, face and
trunk. Palms and soles are the only
regions WITHOUT sebaceous glands

What part of the skin helps insulate the

body from cold and cushions deep
tissue from trauma?


Subcutaneous fat