Reepithelialization is the term used in common parlance to indicate the covering of a skin wound with a new epithelium. In clinical practice, this term is truly ill-defined and usually does not take into account the complexity and specialty cells of an unwounded, mature, human epidermal layer. In the examination of a healed or healing wound, the clinician often says that the wound is “reepithelialized” if the moist erythematous vascular granulation bed is covered by a dry film of epithelium. At the clinical level, the physician usually does not take into account other functions of this epithelial membrane such as its immune function directed by epidermal Langerhan’s cells, the role of pigment-producing melanocytes, the sensory function of epithelial Merkel’s cells, the barrier function of an organized and mature stratum corneum, and the stable epidermal-dermal adherence that occurs by a fully formed neobasement membrane zone between the epidermis and the underlying neodermis. In the future, as we advance our abilities to measure these functions, it is hoped that the definition of reepithelialization on the clinical level will undergo more refinement and discrimination.


Human Keratinocyte Bullous Pemphigoid Epidermolysis Bullosa Basement Membrane Component Dermal Collagen 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • David T. Woodley
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of DermatologyNorthwestern UniversityChicagoUSA

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