My watch list  

Stratum germinativum

Stratum germinativum
Section of epidermis.
A diagrammatic sectional view of the skin (magnified).
Gray's subject #234 1063

Stratum germinativum (also stratum basale or basal cell layer) is the layer of keratinocytes that lies at the base of the epidermis immediately above the dermis. It consists of a single layer of tall, simple columnar epithelial cells lying on a basement membrane. These cells undergo rapid cell division, mitosis, to replenish the regular loss of skin by shedding from the surface. About 25% of the cells are melanocytes, which produce melanin, which provides pigmentation for skin and hair.


All melanocytes have the capacity to migrate widely in the embryo, and therefore a cancer of a melanocyte, a melanoma, will spread (metastasize) very easily. For this reason, melanomas are often fatal, and, when, surgically removed, a lot of surrounding tissue must be taken as well.

Albinism is a recessive hereditary condition in which the melanocytes do not produce melanin. People appear very pale, and, depending on the type of albinism, will also have lack of pigment in the iris of the eye, causing them to appear pink or violet due to visibility of the underlying blood vessels. In the most commonly-inherited form of albinism, the eyes are blue.

Basal cell carcinoma is a relatively benign form of skin cancer, which arises from this layer of cells.

Additional images

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Stratum_germinativum". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
Your browser is not current. Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 does not support some functions on Chemie.DE