Intercellular lamellar lipids in plantar stratum corneum.
Egelrud T, Lundström
Plantar stratum corneum was examined by means of transmission electron microscopy after conventional osmium fixation and after fixation with ruthenium tetroxide. The latter fixative was used in order to reveal the possible existence of lamelarly ordered lipids in the intercellular space, as has previously been demonstrated for non-palmo-plantar stratum corneum. A major part of the plantar stratum corneum intercellular space was occupied by extracellular parts of desmosomes. In specimens fixed with ruthenium tetroxide the intercellular space not occupied by desmosomes was found to contain multiple alternating electron dense and electron lucid bands, suggestive of membraneous structures. This pattern appeared to be similar to that previously described for non-palmo-plantar stratum corneum. It is suggested that the intercellular lipids of palmo-plantar stratum corneum may be qualitatively similar to the intercellular lipids of non-palmo-plantar stratum corneum. The lower lipid content, expressed as weight per unit weight of tissue, in palmo-plantar stratum corneum as compared to non-palmo-plantar stratum corneum may be related to the fact that a larger portion of the intercellular space of the former tissue is occupied by desmosomes. The relatively high water permeability of palmo-plantar stratum corneum implies that desmosomes, i.e. non-lipid regions of the intercellular space, may have a high water permeability and hence could establish a hydrophilic route through the stratum corneum.