Using a scanning nuclear microprobe, the distribution of elements and trace elements of skin cross sections of normal skin, non-lesional psoriatic skin and in dry atopic skin have been mapped. In non-lesional psoriatic skin and in dry atopic skin the epidermal Ca-gradient is higher than that of normal skin. In addition, abnormally high Fe and Zn levels were recorded in the stratum granulosum and corneum regions in the pathological skin. It is suggested that these findings correlate to an increased cell turnover in the basal cell layer of the psoriatic and atopic skins. The ratio of Ca/Zn in stratum corneum of paralesional psoriatic skin is approximately 8:1 compared to 12: 1 in normal skin and 15: 1 in atopic skin. This suggests that the differentiation process in paralesional psoriatic skin may actually be an example of disturbed programmed cell death.
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