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Am J Pathol. 1991 Mar;138(3):687-97.

Hairless micropig skin. A novel model for studies of cutaneous biology.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104.


Reported here is the structural and immunohistochemical similarities between the Yucatan hairless micropig (HMP) skin and that of humans. Hairless micropig skin surface was composed of complex intersecting furrows that created geometric patterns remarkably similar to human skin surface glyphics. The dermal--epidermal interface consisted of undulant downgrowths that interdigitated with dermal papillae. Hairless micropig epidermis contained two morphologically distinct populations of basal keratinocytes (serrated and nonserrated). Similar heterogeneity has been seen only in human epidermis and primate palmar epidermis. Immunohistochemistry revealed that the HMP epidermis is reactive with monoclonal and polyclonal antisera to keratin proteins. Melanocytes reactive with antisera to S-100 protein, as in human skin, also were observed in HMP epidermis. Organization of dermal extracellular matrix, including collagen and elastic fibers, and the organization and reactivity of the microvasculature with antisera to factor VIII, were consistent with human skin. The costicosteroid-induced atrophy and subsequent rebound phenomenon after withdrawal of steroid observed in HMP skin was similar with that observed in humans. It is concluded that HMP skin approximates human skin significantly more precisely than most existing species and is an excellent model for studies of cutaneous physiology and pharmacology.

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