Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




While most investigations have been limited to the study of pigment cells in the epidermis and hair follicles, this work embraces pigmentation of the leg muscles and dermis as well. To this end, PET mice were used which have an abundance of pigment cells in the leg muscles, but which show restriction of integumentary melanocytes to the dermis and hair. This characteristic provided the unique opportunity of comparing isolated systems of pigment cells in their response to identical stimuli of x-rays. Because pigment cells originate in the neural crest early in development and migrate throughout the embryo, all pigment cells theoretically possess the same genetic potential for proliferation and melanogenesis. However, all pigment cell populations do not react equally to identical stimuli. Differences,therefore, must be dependent upon the cellular environment of the melanoblast.

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