Skin Biopsy Specimen
These two micrographs were taken from adjacent regions of the same specimen. (overview)
Why does the epidermis appear markedly thicker in the left-hand micrograph?
Both micrographs are displayed at the same magnification.
Although the epidermis appears markedly thicker in the left-hand micrograph, this does not represent an actual thickening of the epidermal tissue. This effect results from the angle of tissue orientation relative to the plane of section, which varies across the specimen.
On the left, the epidermis is cut obliquely. On the right, the epidermis is cut more-or-less perpendicular to its surface. Clear evidence for an oblique cut is provided by the small "island" of dermis which appears within the epidermis near the center of the left-hand micrograph. This is a dermal papilla which has been cut off from underlying dermis by the oblique section plane.
For more on interpreting tissue sections, see viewing tissues.
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SIUC / School
of Medicine / Anatomy / David
Last updated: 31 July 2002 / dgk