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  • Biology


The melanocytes are skin cells which synthesise melanin.

Structure of melanocytes

The melanocytes are cells contained in the skin (in the basal layer of the epidermis), eye, internal ear (where they are believed to have a role in hearing) and some internal tissues (meninges, heart, gastro-intestinal system, etc.)

Role of melanocytes

This epithelial cell of the epidermis (superficial layer of the skin) synthesises melanin (a dark brown pigment) by melanogenesis. They are therefore responsible for the pigmentation of the skin which plays a protective role against the sun's ultraviolet rays . Specifically, they excrete melanosomes, vesicles which contain melanin and which are taken up by the skin keratinocytes where the accumulated melanin protects DNA in the cell nuclei.

They also contribute to colouring of hair and the eyes.

Melanocytes are located at the base of the epidermis. © Melanocytes are located at the base of the epidermis. ©

Melanocyte - 1 Photo


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