Send to

Choose Destination
Pigment Cell Res. 1998 Feb;11(1):34-7.

The mechanism of melanocyte dendrite formation: the impact of differentiating keratinocytes.

Author information

Zentrum der Dermatologie und Venerologie, Klinikum der Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universit├Ąt, Frankfurt/Main, Germany.


In human epidermis one dendritic melanocyte interacts with about 36 keratinocytes and supplies them with melanin. In contrast to the vivo situation melanocytes in culture are far less dendritic. In the present study different culture systems were tested in order to observe the mechanism of melanocyte dendrite formation. In particular, we focused on the role of keratinocytes in this process. Time lapse studies revealed that only differentiated keratinocytes enhance melanocyte dendricity. Differentiated keratinocytes form connected cell sheets, which attach to part of the melanocyte plasma membrane. By contraction and retraction of keratinocyte units, new dendrites were drawn out from the melanocytes. Melanocytes remain passive during this process, which is indicated by the observation that sometimes extended dendrites could not withstand the tension and shear.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center