Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science




For more than a century, Langerhans cells have been known to occur in the mammalian epidermis. Experimental evidence has shown that their origin is ectodermal (Reams and Tompkins, 1973). Almost nothing ls known of their function. Mackenzie ( 1972) has shown a good correlation between the arrangement of epidermal Langerhans cells in the mouse and the ordered structure of the epidermis into columns. He has suggested that Langerhans cells might serve as an active organizer of epidermal structure.

As chickens do not have epidermal Langerhans cells, the present histological study was undertaken to compare the epidermal architecture of chick and mouse skin. As anticipated, Langerhans cells showed a spacial relationship with the columns of cells in the upper epidermis of the mouse. As compared to the mouse, the epidermis of the chick was relatively thin. Although there was extensive dovetailing, especially in the stratum corneum, the cells of the stratum granulosum and stratum corneum were arranged in columns. It appears that in the chick the ordered structure of the upper layers of epidermis not dependent upon the presence of Langerhans cells.