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Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2005 Jan;262(1):77-80. Epub 2004 Feb 13.

The distribution of free calcium ions in the cholesteatoma epithelium.

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Department of Otorhinolaryngology, University Hospital of Odense, 5000, Odense, Denmark.


The distribution of free calcium ions in normal skin and cholesteatoma epithelium was investigated using the oxalate precipitation method. In agreement with previous observations, we could demonstrate a calcium ion gradient in normal epidermis where the cells in stratum basale and spinosum reside in an environment containing relatively low concentrations of calcium ions, whereas the outer stratum granulosum contained abundant calcium. The concentration declined precipitously in the stratum corneum. In contrast, in cholesteatomas, the gradient was perturbed in some areas of the nucleated layers and areas appeared where oblong accumulations of free calcium ions were found basally in the stratum. These findings provide evidence that fluctuations in epidermal calcium in cholesteatoma epithelium may underlie the abnormal desquamation, may contribute to the formation of an abnormal permeability barrier and may regulate terminal events in epidermal differentiation.

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