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J Invest Dermatol. 1984 Feb;82(2):165-9.

Visualization of epidermal growth factor receptors in human epidermis.


The localization of epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptors in normal human epidermis was examined with two independent experimental methods. The distribution of EGF receptor sites was studied using light microscopic autoradiography with [125I]EGF and direct immunocytochemical techniques with EGF receptor antibodies and protein A-colloidal gold complexes. Direct visualization by autoradiography indicated that the concentration of EGF receptors was greatest in the lower epidermal layers. Ultrastructural morphometric analysis of protein A-gold complexes showed that EGF receptors were primarily associated with the plasma membranes although intranuclear and cytoplasmic localization was also evident. This postembedment immunolocalization method also confirmed the relative differences in the number of EGF receptors found in individual epidermal layers (basalis greater than spinosum greater than granulosum greater than corneum layers). This inverse relationship between numbers of EGF receptors and the degree of epidermal differentiation and/or keratinization may suggest a physiologic role for EGF in these processes in human epidermis.

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