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Dermatology Research and Practice
Volume 2010 (2010), Article ID 698761, 6 pages
Review Article

Desmosomes in Developing Human Epidermis

1Department of Dermatology, University of Turku and Turku University Hospital, PL 52, 20521 Turku, Finland
2Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy, University of Turku, 20520 Turku, Finland

Received 1 December 2009; Accepted 2 April 2010

Academic Editor: Eliane J. Mueller

Copyright © 2010 Sirkku Peltonen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Desmosomes play important roles in the cell differentiation and morphogenesis of tissues. Studies on animal models have greatly increased our knowledge on epidermal development while reports on human developing skin are rare due to the difficult accessibility to the samples. Although the morphology of periderm cells and the process how the epidermis develops very much resemble each other, the timetable and the final outcome of a mature human epidermis markedly differ from those of murine skin. Even the genetic basis of the junctional components may have profound differences between the species, which might affect the implementation of the data from animal models in human studies. The aim of this review is to focus on the development of human skin with special emphasis on desmosomes. Desmosomal development is mirrored in perspective with other simultaneous events, such as maturation of adherens, tight and gap junctions, and the basement membrane zone.