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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The differentiation profile of the epithelium of the human lip.

The aim of this study was to analyse the immunohistochemical differentiation profile of the stratified squamous epithelium of the adult human lip. Full-thickness lower lips taken from 31 cadavers were analysed. Sections were stained with haematoxylin and eosin, periodic acid-Schiff (PAS), cytokeratins (CK), loricrin, involucrin, profilaggrin and filaggrin. The stratified squamous epithelium covering the lip could be divided into: (i) appendage-bearing, orthokeratinised epidermis; (ii) orthokeratinised vermilion which had a more prominent rete pattern than the epidermis; (iii) parakeratinised, PAS-positive intermediate zone; and (iv) non- or parakeratinised labial mucosal epithelium. Epithelial thickness increased gradually from the skin to the mucosal aspect. The CK pattern changed across the intermediate zone, with gradual loss of CK 1 and 10 from the skin, and CK 4, 13 and 19 from the mucosal, aspect. CK 5 and 14 were consistently expressed basally, and variably expressed suprabasally. Apart from labelling Merkel cells, CK 8, 18 and 20 were negative. Involucrin, which was present at all sites, was restricted to the stratum granulosum in skin, but extended into the stratum spinosum, and gradually into parabasal keratinocytes, across the vermilion and mucosa. Loricrin, profilaggrin and filaggrin were present in the stratum granulosum of orthokeratinised sites, but expression was abruptly lost at the junction between the vermilion and the intermediate zone. In conclusion, the phenotype of the stratified squamous epithelium covering the lip changes at, or across, the intermediate zone of the adult vermilion. It is possible that changes in the composition of the stratified squamous epithelium affect the colour of the vermilion.[1]


  1. The differentiation profile of the epithelium of the human lip. Barrett, A.W., Morgan, M., Nwaeze, G., Kramer, G., Berkovitz, B.K. Arch. Oral Biol. (2005) [Pubmed]
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