Malpighian layer

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The inner (or lower) layer of epidermis consisting of non-keratinized, viable cells, in contrast to the outer (upper) layer made up of keratinized, anucleated, non-viable cells.


The epidermis of the skin may be divided into two major layers: the outer layer of keratinized, non-viable cells and the Malpighian layer of non-keratinized, viable cells.

The Mapighian layer is made up of germinative (basal) cells that are mitotically active, melanocytes that give the skin its tan color, and cells that have spiny projections. The Malphigian layer includes the germinative (basal), granular and spinous layers of epidermis.

Word origin: Named after Marcello Malpighi, the founder of microscopic anatomy and the first histologist.

Variant: Malpighi layer.

Synonym: stratum Malpighii, rete Malpighii.
See also: epidermis.

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