An electron microscopic study of the dendritic cells in the basal layer of guinea-pig epidermis


  1. 1.

    The dendritic cells in the basal layer of the epidermis of the anterior abdominal wall skin of the black guinea-pig has been studied with the electron microscope. The tissue was embedded in epoxy resins and sections were stained with uranyl acetate.

  2. 2.

    The dendritic cells could be recognized by the fact that they were lying free between adjacent keratinocytes and the basement membrane and did not possess desmosomes or hemi-desmosomes. The cytoplasm contained no tono-filaments but many mitochondria and there was a well developed Golgi complex.

  3. 3.

    Three types of dendritic cells could be identified.

    1. Type 1.

      The melanocyte which had a slightly indented nucleus and contained melanin granules in different stages of maturity within its cytoplasm.

    2. Type 2.

      Non-pigmented cell which had a deeply indented nucleus and characteristic rod-shaped granules in the cytoplasm. The dendritic processes were well developed.

    3. Type 3.

      Non-pigmented cell similar to that of type 2 but not having rod-shaped granules in the cytoplasm and possessing poorly developed dendritic processes.

  4. 4.

    The possible relationship which may exist between the different types of dendritic cells and their significance was discussed.

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Acknowledgements. I wish to express my sincere thanks to Doctor David Hilding of the Department of Otolaryngology for allowing me to use the R.C.A. electron microscope and other facilities in his laboratory. I wish also to thank Doctor Russell Barrnett of the Department of Anatomy for many helpful discussions during the course of this work. This research was supported by the United States Public Health Service and American Cancer Society grants. U.S.P.H.S. C.A. 04679-05, NB 399503, NB 344704.

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Snell, R.S. An electron microscopic study of the dendritic cells in the basal layer of guinea-pig epidermis. Zeitschrift für Zellforschung 66, 457–470 (1965).

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  • Epoxy
  • Dendritic Cell
  • Basement Membrane
  • Abdominal Wall
  • Uranyl