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Structure and function of skin 

Structure and function of skin

Chapter:
Structure and function of skin
Author(s):

John A. McGrath

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199204854.003.2301_update_001

Update:

Expanded discussion of (1) keratinocyte stem cells and the signals that influence them; (2) filaggrin mutations that are a risk factor for systemic allergies; (3) pathophysiology of toxic epidermal necrolysis.

Updated on 28 Nov 2013. The previous version of this content can be found here.
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date: 21 August 2017

Skin provides a mechanical barrier against the external environment, but has further roles in thermoregulation, metabolism, and the regulation of fluid balance, as well as being socially important in contributing to physical and chemical attraction between individuals.

There are more than 1000 different skin diseases, although relatively few are commonly encountered in general medical practice. However, several skin conditions can reflect a general medical problem such as a systemic infection, or a cutaneous manifestation of internal disease (e.g. patients with underlying malignancy, endocrine disorders or chronic inflammatory diseases). An understanding of skin structure and function is also important in dealing with the common clinical scenario of ‘skin failure’ resulting from adverse drug reactions, burns, or extensive trauma....

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