The human epidermis has been studied by electron microscopy following osmium tetroxide and potassium permanganate fixation. An anatomically distinct cell in the human epidermis has been demonstrated with features similar to the melanocyte of the hair bulb described by Barnicot, Birbeck and Cuckow (3). It is dendritic in form and does not contain tonofilaments. "Intercellular bridges" are not formed. The mitochondria are larger and more numerous than those of other epidermal cells and the endoplasmic reticulum is more complex. Some of these cells contain melanin but others are melanin-free. The cell has been interpreted as being identical with the dopa-positive, clear cell of Masson (dendritic cell of Bloch or melanocyte). We have found that many membranous structures in the human epidermis are better preserved by permanganate fixation than by osmium tetroxide fixation.

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