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April 1963

Molluscum Contagiosum, Verruca and Zoster Viruses: Electron Microscopic Studies in the Skin

Author Affiliations


From the Dermatology Department, University of Miami School of Medicine.

Arch Dermatol. 1963;87(4):436-444. doi:10.1001/archderm.1963.01590160028005

The molluscum contagiosum virus is composed of brick-shaped outer shells containing a dumbbell-shaped nucleoid. The virus replicates in the cytoplasm of the epidermal cell, passes through intermediate forms, collects in vacuoles, and eventually fills the entire cell. Tonofilaments and the cell nucleus are compressed to the periphery of the cell.

The verruca virus is composed of a spherical shell approximately 50 mμ in diameter and a central nucleoid. It replicates in the nucleus of the epidermal cell, eventually filling the nucleus. It passes into the cytoplasm and is found within the cells of the stratum corneum. It produces a hyperplastic and verruciform epidermis.

The zoster virus has an outer diameter of approximately 160 mμ. It Is composed of two outer shells and a nucleoid of approximately 50 mμ diameter. It replicates in the nucleus of the stratum spinosum, eventually filling the entire nucleus. It enters the cytoplasm through nuclear membrane disruptions and nuclear membrane reduplications; migrates through the cytoplasm, and exits into the extracellular space through budding of the cytoplasmic membrane. Desmosomes are destroyed, and the epidermal cell is lysed.

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