Epidermal growth factor and transferrin receptor expression in human embryonic and fetal epidermal cells

G. Zambruno, G. Girolomoni, V. Manca, A. Segre, A. Giannetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFR) and transferrin receptors (TFR) are known to be involved in cell proliferation and to be expressed in normal human epidermis. To date little is known about EGFR and TRF expression in human skin during embryonic and fetal development. In the present work, we studied skin specimens from 30 aborted embryos and fetuses ranging from 7 to 31 weeks estimated gestational age. Monoclonal antibodies to EGFR and TFR were applied on frozen skin sections using an amplification biotin-streptavidin-fluorescein technique. TFR was faintly expressed on epidermal basal cells throughout embryonic and fetal development, as it is in adult epidermis. Up to week 12, EGFR was uniformly expressed on cells of the basal, intermediate and periderm cell layers. From the midfetal period onwards, the suprabasal cell layers showed a decreased staining compared with the basal layer. During the third trimester the cornified cell layer was completely negative. The hair germ and heir peg cells were positive. Later, the outer root sheath and hair bulb remained labelled, with less staining of the hair cone. The sebaceous and eccrine sweat glands were also labelled. These results suggest that in embryonic and fetal epidermis, TFR expression is not correlated with cellular proliferation, whereas EGFR appear to be associated with proliferating and undifferentiated cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)544-548
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Dermatological Research
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1990


  • EGF receptor
  • Epidermal cells
  • Human fetus
  • Transferrin receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


Dive into the research topics of 'Epidermal growth factor and transferrin receptor expression in human embryonic and fetal epidermal cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this