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Volume 14, Number 9—September 2008
Etymologia

Merkel Cells
[mәr′-kәl]

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Specialized cells found near the dermal-epidermal junction, characterized by numerous membrane-bound granules with dense cores. The cells were named after German anatomy professor Friedrich Sigmund Merkel, who experimented with osmium tetroxide staining and described these cells in 1875. First identified in the skin of a mole, they were later found in human skin. The cells are responsible for the highly malignant skin tumor known as Merkel cell carcinoma. An infectious cause for Merkel cell carcinoma has been proposed.

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DOI: 10.3201/eid1409.e11409

Sources: Dorland’s illustrated medical dictionary, 31st edition. Philadelphia: Saunders/Elsevier; 2007; http://www.whonamedit.com; Merkel FS. Tastzellen und Tastkörperchen bei den Hausthieren und beim Menschen. Archiv für mikroskopische Anatomie. 1875;11:636–52; Foulongne, V, Kluger N, Dereure O, Brieu N, Guillot B, Segondy M. Merkel cell polyomavirus and Merkel cell carcinoma, France [letter]. Emerg Infect Dis. 2008;14:1491–2.

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Table of Contents – Volume 14, Number 9—September 2008

Page created: July 13, 2010
Page updated: July 13, 2010
Page reviewed: July 13, 2010
The conclusions, findings, and opinions expressed by authors contributing to this journal do not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the authors' affiliated institutions. Use of trade names is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by any of the groups named above.
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