The role of divalent cations in epidermolysis

R. L. Dimond, Kent L Erickson, K. D. Wuepper

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15 Scopus citations


In experiments designed to elucidate the role of divalent cations in maintaining the integrity of the epidermis, newborn mouse skin was incubated in ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA) or ethylene glycol tetraacetic acid (EGTA). In EDTA, epidermolysis occurred and was confirmed by rubbing the specimen to demonstrate that a sheet of epidermis could be split off. After 30 min incubation in 0.01 mmol/l EDTA the split occurred in the lower granular upper spinous layer; after 45 min, it was in a spinous suprabasilar location and at 60 min and later at the dermal epidermal junction. Ultrastructurally, a clear zone of apparent intracellular oedema occurred along the cell membranes. The split then occurred intracytoplasmally through this clear zone and the adjacent cell membrane was lost. Since incubation in EGTA at pH 7.4 did not result in epidermolysis, we suggest that the removal of magnesium rather than calcium is responsible for epidermolysis. Thirty min after the addition of either calcium or magnesium to EDTA treated specimens, epidermolysis could no longer be demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-34
Number of pages10
JournalBritish Journal of Dermatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1976
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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