Melanocytes and langerhans cells in aged versus young skin before and after transplantation onto nude mice

Amos Gilhar*, Thomas Pillar, Michael David, Shmuel Eidelman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Previous studies have demonstrated decreased numbers of melanocytes and Langerhans cells (LC) in aged skin. In the present study, we employed dopa and indirect immunoperoxidase techniques in epidermal sheets to determine the fate of melanocytes and LC of aged versus young donors after skin transplantations onto nude mice. The detection of positive homologous leucocytic antibody reaction of degeneration (HLA-DR) of LC indicates an age-associated reduction in sun-protected thigh skin in aged versus young subjects (263 ± 63 versus 589.25 ± 142.643, p < 0.001). The mean number of LC four weeks after transplanation remained almost constant. Prior to skin engraftment, a decreased number of melanocytes was found in aged versus young epidermis (160.77 ± 51.7 versus 255.83 ± 81.2, respectively, p < 0.05). A significantly increased number of melanocytes was noted four weeks following engraftment in epidermis from aged (307.44 ± 174, p < 0.05) and young human donors (402.16 ± 139, p < 0.02). The marked increase in density of dopa-positive melanocytes following engraftment onto nude mice may indicate the existence of circulating factors in nude mice that perhaps both stimulates and enhances proliferation and activity of these cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-214
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1991
Externally publishedYes


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