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J Histochem Cytochem. 2005 Apr;53(4):431-43.

Multiple roles for elastic fibers in the skin.

Author information

  • 1Department of Biochemistry, University of Texas Health Center at Tyler, 11937 US Highway 271, Tyler, TX 75705, USA. barry.starcher@uthct.edu

Abstract

Dermal elastic fibers are believed to have a primary role in providing elastic stretch and recoil to the skin. Here we compare the structural arrangement of dermal elastic fibers of chick skin and different animal species. Most elastic fibers in chick skin are derived from cells that line the feather follicle and/or smooth muscle that connects the pterial and apterial muscle bundles to feather follicles. Elastic fibers in the dermis of animals with single, primary hair follicles are derived from cells lining the hair follicle or from the ends of the pili muscle, which anchors the muscle to the matrix or to the hair follicle. Each follicle is interconnected with elastic fibers. Follicles of animals with primary and secondary (wool) hair follicles are also interconnected by elastic fibers, yet only the elastic fibers derived from the primary follicle are connected to each primary follicle. Only the primary hair follicles are connected to the pili muscle. Human skin, but not the skin of other primates, is significantly different from other animals with respect to elastic fiber organization and probably cell of origin. The data suggest that the primary role for elastic fibers in animals, with the possible exception of humans, is movement and/or placement of feathers or hair.

PMID:
15805418
DOI:
10.1369/jhc.4A6484.2005
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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