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Keratinocyte

Keratinocytes are the predominant cell type in the epidermis, the outermost layer of the human skin, constituting 95% of the cells found there. Those keratinocytes found in the basal layer (Stratum germinativum) of the skin are sometimes referred to as "basal cells" or "basal keratinocytes". The primary function of keratinocytes is the formation of a barrier against environmental damage such as pathogens (bacteria, fungi, parasites, viruses), heat, UV radiation and water loss. A number of structural proteins (filaggrin, keratin), enzymes (proteases), lipids and antimicrobial peptides (defensins) contribute to maintain the important barrier function of the skin. Once pathogens start to invade the upper layers of the epidermis, keratinocytes can react with the production of proinflammatory mediators and in particular chemokines such as CXCL10, CCL2 which attract leukocytes to the site of pathogen invasion. Keratinization is part of the physical barrier formation cornification, in which the keratinocytes produce more and more keratin and eventually undergo programmed cell death. The fully cornified keratinocytes that form the outermost layer are constantly shed off and replaced by new cells. The average renewal / turnover time for the epidermis is 21 days.

Keratinocytes form tight junctions with the nerves of the skin and hold the Langerhans cells and intra-dermal lymphocytes in position within the epidermis. Keratinocytes also modulate the immune system: apart from the above mentioned antimicrobial peptides and chemokines they are also potent producers of anti-inflammatory mediators such as IL-10 and TGF-β. When activated, they can stimulate cutaneous inflammation and Langerhans cell activation via TNFα and IL-1β secretion.[citation needed]

Keratinocytes contribute to protecting the body from ultraviolet radiation (UVR) by taking up melanosomes, vesicles containing the endogenous photoprotectant melanin, from epidermal melanocytes. Each melanocyte in the epidermis has several dendrites that stretch out to connect it with many keratinocytes. The melanin is then stored in the keratinocytes' nuclei, where it protects the DNA from UVR-induced damage.

Keratinocytes migrate with a rolling motion during the process of wound healing.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA

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