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J Invest Dermatol. 1976 Jul;67(1):20-5.



Early studies have already shown that the tonofibrils of malpighian cells consist of a --SH containing fibrous alpha-protein. It was assumed that the highly resistant protective substance, keratin, was formed by the conversion of --SH groups into --S--S--bonds in this protein. This chemical reaction was regarded as the most significant event of the keratinization process. Recent studies show that keratinization proceeds by a synthetic and a degradative stage and that ultimately a complex protective substance is formed. Horny cells become filled with --SH-containing filaments embedded in a --S--S---rich amorphous matrix. This complex is encased by a thickened membrane rendered insoluble by --S--S bonds and an unknown, highly resistant bond. In the stratum corneum, the intercellular space is occupied by bipolar lipids originating from the discharged lamellae of membrane-coating granules.

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