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Polishing up functional dermatopathology, dermometrology and mechanobiology

By Gérald Pierard, Claudine Pierard, Trinh Hermanns-Lê and Pascale Quatresooz


Dermatopathology is a tool using the microscopic examination for diagnosing cutaneous diseases. The frontiers of its field of interest were extended by exploring the physiopathology of skin functional properties. An example is provided by the evaluation of alterations of skin suppleness in various connective tissue disorders. This approach takes profit from both conventional histology and histochemistry. Immunohistology targeting dermal dendrocytes reveals their various shapes reflecting the modifications in tensegrity under the control of mechanobiology. The latter property is an indicator of the evolution and severity of the connective tissue changes. Electron microscopy is also very instructive in this field. The in vivo examination by dermoscopy highlights a similar mechanism involving the melanocytes. From an engineering point of view, the skin and subcutaneous tissue represent an integrated load-transmitting structure. It is subjected to intrinsic and environmental influences. Some models were offered to explain how skin withstands and transmits loads through deforming appropriately or abnormally according to disorders of the connective tissue structure. We report a brief review of the principles of interpretation of the measurements of the skin biomechanical properties, and the histological presentations of mechanobiology. The applications of such investigations are summarized in the Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, inguinal hernias, gravitational syndrome, diabetes, scleroderma, hemodialysed patients, in case of growth hormone administration and during climacteric.Peer reviewe

Topics: Biomechanics, Dermatology/methods/standards, Humans, Pathology/methods/standards, Human health sciences :: Dermatology, Sciences de la santé humaine :: Dermatologie
Year: 2007
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