Ontogeny of structural components at the dermal-epidermal junction in human embryonic and fetal skin: The appearance of anchoring fibrils and type VII collagen

Lynne T. Smith, Lynn Sakai, Robert E. Burgeson, Karen A. Holbrook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The ontogeny and composition of the dermal-epidermal junction (DEJ) in developing human embryonic and fetal skin was studied at progressive stages of gestation by immunofluorescence microscopy and immunocytochemistry using transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The DEJ of embryonic skin at 5 weeks estimated gestational age (EGA) was a simple basement membrane zone limited to the basal cell plasma membrane, lamina lucida, and lamina densa. A network of reticular collagen fibrils (reticular lamina) was deposited beneath the lamina densa by 6 weeks. Coincident with the onset of increased complexity in epidermal and dermal structure, at the time of the embryonic to fetal transition, the DEJ displayed additional components that were markers of maturation. At 7-8 weeks EGA, fine filamentous structures extended from the DEJ into the reticular lamina. By 9 weeks EGA hemidesmosomes and banded anchoring fibrils were recognizable, although distributed sparsely at the DEJ. With increasing gestational age, these structures displayed greater electron density and structural completeness. By the end of the first trimester, the DEJ appeared ultrastructurally similar to that of mature skin. Weak immunofluorescent labeling demonstrated the presence of type VII collagen at the DEJ by 8 weeks EGA. From 10-12 weeks EGA immunofluorescent labeling of the DEJ for type VII collagen was distinctly punctate, while immunoperoxidase labeling observed by TEM was linear, continuous, and sublamina densa in position. With ongoing gestation the immunofluorescent labeling became increasingly stronger at the DEJ. Thus, type VII collagen was present at the DEJ in the zone immediately beneath the lamina densa, before the appearance of mature anchoring fibrils but coordinate with the appearance of fine filamentous, unbanded structures, and appeared to increase with the development and accumulation of anchoring fibrils.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)480-485
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Volume90
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1988

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Collagen Type VII
Labeling
Skin
Cell membranes
Gestational Age
Reticulin
Transmission electron microscopy
Carrier concentration
Microscopic examination
Collagen
Transmission Electron Microscopy
Chemical analysis
Cell Membrane
Hemidesmosomes
Pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology
  • Cell Biology

Cite this

Ontogeny of structural components at the dermal-epidermal junction in human embryonic and fetal skin : The appearance of anchoring fibrils and type VII collagen. / Smith, Lynne T.; Sakai, Lynn; Burgeson, Robert E.; Holbrook, Karen A.

In: Journal of Investigative Dermatology, Vol. 90, No. 4, 01.01.1988, p. 480-485.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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