J Pitts, E Kam, L Melville, FM Watt
Journal name: 
Ciba Found Symp
Citation info: 
Gap junctions provide pathways for direct communication between cells in almost all animal tissues. The junctional channels are freely permeable to small ions and molecules but not to macromolecules. A coupled cell population is as a consequence a partial syncytium, within which metabolites, cofactors, small control molecules and inorganic ions can all diffuse freely through the combined cytoplasmic compartment, while intracellular macromolecules remain relatively fixed in space, in the cells where they are synthesized. Little is known about the extent and distribution of these communication compartments in tissues. To further understand their significance, we have mapped the patterns of junctional communication in skin by intracellular injection of the tracer dye Lucifer Yellow. Cells in the dermal layer are widely coupled, with dye spreading through hundreds of cells in a few minutes. Dye spread in the epidermis is much more restricted, passing in the same time into only a few cells. Dermal-epidermal coupling is not normally detected but is occasionally seen in new-born mouse skin when hair follicles are starting to invaginate. Dermal cells are coupled to a band of follicular cells near the base of mature hair follicles, whereas sebaceous glands appear to be coupled units, isolated from surrounding cells.
E-pub date: 
01 Aug 1987
Users with this publication listed: 
Fiona Watt