Forma, Vol. 11 (No. 3), pp. 303-316, 1996

Establishment of Epidermal Cell Columns in Mammalian Skin: Computer Simulation

Hisao Honda1, Toshiteru Morita2 and Akira Tanabe2

1Kanebo Institute for Cancer Research, Misakicho 1-9-1, Kobe 652, Japan
2Laboratory of Experimental Radiology, Aichi Cancer Center Research Institute, Tashirocho, Nagoya 464, Japan

(Received October 13, 1978; Accepted June 28, 1979)

Abstract. The present investigation shows an example of tissue formation in relation to individual cell properties. Epidermis of mammalian skin has recently been shown to be organized during ontogeny into neat vertical cell columns, in which a cell approximates the flattened form of Kelvin's tetrakaidecahedron, a 14-sided body with eight hexagonal faces and six square faces. Such an epidermal architecture is compatible with the organization and turnover of stacked cells, a constant loss of surface cells and a supply that cells from a basal layer differentiate during migration to the surface. The developmental process from irregular cell aggregate into neat columns in skin is simulated on a digital electronic computer with the assumption as follows: a new cell migrating upward from a basal layer jostles and settles at the less crowded area among upper cells. After migration of many cells to the surface, the simulation demonstrates that cells have been stacked in neat columns, and the stability of the architecture is also shown.