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December 24, 1927


JAMA. 1927;89(26):2196-2197. doi:10.1001/jama.1927.02690260044017

Biochemists have long appreciated the essential fitness of the skin for covering and protecting the body. The skin and its appendages are composed largely of keratin, a protein characterized by its insolubility in all ordinary reagents and by its failure to exhibit the usual chemical reactions. It thus is not only resistant physically but also highly inert chemically and seems strikingly well adapted to its function in the organism. This very correlation of chemical nature and physiologic behavior is so obvious that students are likely to neglect further study of possible function of the skin. The sweat glands and their activities early drew attention to the part these structures play in excretion, and for a long time this activity of the skin was considered as an important adjunct to the work of the kidneys. This point of view is untenable, however, in the light of newer experiments.1 The skin

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