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Light micrograph of a section through normal human (caucasian) skin, showing presence of melanocytes (darkly-stained cells) in the basal layer of the epidermis. Skin colour depends on 3 factors: a. presence of carotene pigments in the subcutaneous fat (found in the dermis, the white area at bottom); b. concentration of blood pigments such as haemoglobin; c. amount of pigment melanin in the epidermis, which varies according to race & regions of body. Melanin is secreted from vesicles (melanosomes) within the melanocytes, and distributed along cytoplasmic processes which integrate with the surrounding epithelial cells. Magnification: X 100 at 35mm size.
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