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Keratinocytes: Introduction, Function, and Significance


Due to its large proportion of comprising epidermis cells over 90%, Keratinocyte is often known for being the predominant cell type in the epidermis---one of three parts of the skin but the outermost layer (the rest parts are the dermis and the subcutis or hypodermis. See more about skin cells in next blog). They are also being referred as basal cells, or basal keratinocytes, because of their special location in basal layer of the epidermis.

Actually, except the skin, keratinocytes also cover some oral mucosa (as well as esophagus, corneal, conjunctival, and genital epithelia). However, the morphology of each tissue and the behavior of the keratinocytes from these site are quite different. For instance, oral keratinocytes and skin keratinocytes response to injury differently; and oral mucosal wounds heal faster, and with less inflammation in comparison with equivalent cutaneous wounds.

Functions of keratinocytes

Its main functions is to form a barrier between an organism and its environment, preventing against environmental damages and threats to skin, and oral mucosa as we mentioned above, coming from pathogenic bacteria, viruses, fungi, heat, UV radiation and water loss, etc.

In addition to their primary role, keratinocytes are also responsible for secreting inhibitory cytokines in the absence of injury, and stimulating inflammation and activating Langerhans cells, in response to injury.


Keratinocytes isolated from adult human skin are significantly helpful in the study of diseases such as psoriasis and skin cancer. Moreover, these cells are currently being widely utilized in multiple research efforts, such as for the study of oral biology, mucosal immunity, and carcinogenesis to stem cell biology and tissue engineering.

Cells such as human oral keratinocytes (HOK) are readily available at Creative Bioarray, and have also been continuously employed for researchers to scientific research. If you have any inquires about these cells, please definitely contact us at 1-631-626-9181 or via email at info@creative-bioarray.com.

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