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Exp Dermatol. 2004 May;13(5):326-31.

The role of E-cadherin in nevogenesis: an experimental study using epidermal reconstructs.

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INSERM E 217, Université Victor Segalen, Bordeaux, France.



In the development of congenital nevi, how nevus cells migrate in the dermis remains unclear. As shown in an earlier study designed to investigate Unna's Abtropfung hypothesis, dermal invasion does not occur when nevus cells are seeded on epidermal reconstructs. In melanoma, the decrease of E-cadherin expression is associated with the dermal invasion of melanoma cells.


To study the expression of E-cadherin in dermal-cultured nevus cells from congenital nevi and its relevance to explain the absence of dermal invasion noted in epidermis reconstructed with cultured nevus cells.


Comparison of the immunohistochemical expression pattern of E-cadherin in congenital nevi in vivo and after culture in monolayers and in a three-dimensional system.


E-cadherin was not expressed in vivo by dermal nevus cells, either isolated or in nests. However, in monolayer cultures, dermal nevus cells expressed E-cadherin. When these cells were used in reconstructed epidermis, nevus cells did not invade the dermis and they expressed E-cadherin when isolated and just weakly or not when grouped in junctional nests.


The absence of dermal invasion of nevus cells could be due to the expression of E-cadherin in these cells in reconstructed epidermis. Our experiments suggest, a restoration of the control of keratinocytes, that nevus cells escape in the dermal compartment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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