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July 1978

Comparative Biology of Skin

Author Affiliations

San Francisco


edited by R.I.C. Spearman, 427 pp, with illus, $29, London, Academic Press Inc, 1977.

Arch Dermatol. 1978;114(7):1088. doi:10.1001/archderm.1978.01640190070028

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This book contains 16 papers presented at a symposium of the Zoological Society of London on Oct 30 and 31, 1975. It represents a unique collection of papers discussing morphology, physiology, and biochemistry of skin of various groups of invertebrates and vertebrates. The title appropriately defines the diversity of integument reviewed, which ranges from those of arthropods and mollusks through fishes and rodents.

Morphology of the different integuments is clearly presented, and the use of excellent diagrams and light and electron micrograms effectively elaborates differences among the various species. Cells that form the cuticle are highly variable, ie, collagen is absent from the cuticle of arthropod, whereas epidermal cells of mollusks secrete a number of substances, including the tanned protein of byssus threads, operculum, and periostracum. On the other hand, the procuticle of insects and the stratum corneum of mammals have much in common. The cells contain basically two types

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