Lecture - Integumentary Development

From Embryology


Adult skin histology showing epidermis, dermis and hypodermis as well as specializations, such as hair follicles and sweat glands

The skin provides a barrier between ourselves and our environment (temperature, water, UV), and contains specializations in different regions including hair, nails, teeth, glands and sensory receptors. In other species there are also specializations of beaks, scales and feathers.

The two major tissue organizations of epithelial (ectoderm, epidermis) and mesenchyme (mesoderm connective tissue, dermis and hypodermis) are shown within skin. In addition, we have also have extensive populating by melanocytes (neural crest) and sensory nerve endings.

Possibly the first epithelial tissue specialization from which arose other epithelial specializations now located inside the body. The external skin associated structures have many different roles and functions. This system is also an excellent model for distribution or "pattern" and adult stem cells.

This lecture will be presented by a SOMS researcher Dr. Annemiek Beverdam specialising in Integumentary and Stem Cell Development. Her lecture slides are linked below.

Integumentary Lecture Slides - Print PDF

Shown below on this page is for only background information for this topic.


UNSW Embryology logo
Hill, M.A. (2017). UNSW Embryology (17th ed.) Retrieved May 29, 2017, from https://embryology.med.unsw.edu.au
Integumentary Links: Introduction | Lecture | Hair | Tooth | Nail | Gland | Mammary Gland | Eyelid | Outer Ear | Melanocyte | Touch | Histology | Abnormalities | Category:Integumentary
Historic Embryology  
1910 Manual of Human Embryology | 1914 Integumentary | 1923 Head Subcutaneous Plexus | 1921 Text-Book of Embryology | 1924 Developmental Anatomy | 1941 Skin Sensory | Historic Disclaimer
| 2010 Lecture | 2014 PDF
The Developing Human, 9th edn.jpg Citation: The Developing Human: clinically oriented embryology 9th ed. Keith L. Moore, T.V.N. Persaud, Mark G. Torchia. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2011. (links available to UNSW students)
Larsen's human embryology 4th edn.jpg The following chapter links only work with a UNSW Library connection.
  • Chapter 7 - Development of the Skin and Its Derivatives
 :Links: Embryology Textbooks


  • Understand the embryonic origin and differentiation of the epidermis and dermis.
  • Understand the formation of hair and nails.
  • Understand the formation of sweat glands, mammary glands.
  • Understand the formation of teeth.
  • Brief understanding of associated abnormalities.
Skin structure cartoon.jpg

Skin structure cartoon

Online Textbooks


dermal papilla - the extensions of the dermis into the epidermis.

dermatoglyphic patterns - (Greek, derma = "skin", glyph = "carving") fingers, palms, toes, and soles skin patterns.

epidermal growth factor receptor - expressed on cells in the epidermis basal layer, signaling stimulates both epidermal growth and wound healing and also mediates an inhibition of differentiation.

rete ridge - the extensions of the epidermis into the dermis. These epidermal surface thickenings extend downward between underlying connective tissue dermal papillae. This is also the site of initial eccrine gland differentiation.

External Links

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Olivier Duverger, Maria I Morasso Role of homeobox genes in the patterning, specification, and differentiation of ectodermal appendages in mammals. J. Cell. Physiol.: 2008, 216(2);337-46 PubMed 18459147

| Figure 1 Key steps in the development of three major ectodermal appendages

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