Ichthyosis vulgaris is a member of a group of cutaneous disorders of keratinization and appear both clinically and histologically. Ichthyosis vulgaris disrupts this balance either because too many replacement skin cells are produced or because the skin cells do not separate well from the skin surface when it is their time to drop off. The result is that skin cells accumulate into thick flakes that adhere to the body. Ichthyosis vulgaris can be a nuisance, but rarely affects overall health. The condition has no known cure but can be managed. The integumentary system is the organ system comprised of skin, hair, and nails protect the body from damage. The integumentary system serves many different purposes; it protects deeper tissues, excretes wastes, and regulates temperature. It also is embedded with sensory receptors to detect pain, sensation, pressure, and temperature. The integumentary system also provides for vitamin D synthesis with significant exposure to sunlight. The integumentary system is the bodyâ€™s largest organ system and accounts for about twelve to fifteen percent of total body weight. It separates and protects the body from its surroundings. The skin is made up of three major layers and tissues: the epidermis; dermis; hypodermis. The epidermis is the outermost layer of skin, providing the initial barrier to the external environment. Beneath that is the dermis which is made up of two sections, the papillary and reticular layers, which contain connective tissues, vessels, glands, follicles, hair roots, sensory nerve endings, and muscular tissue. The deepest layer of skin is the hypodermis, which is mostly made up of adipose tissue. The epidermis is made up of epithelial cells. Its main function is protection, absorption of nutrients, and homeostasis. It consists of a keratinized stratified squamous epithelium comprised of four types of cells: keratinocytes, melanocytes, Merkel cells, and Langerhansâ€™ cells. The major cell of the epidermis is the keratinocyte, which produces keratin. Keratin is a fibrous protein that aids in protection. Keratin is also a water-proofing protein. Millions of dead keratinocytes rub off daily. The majority of the skin on the body is keratinized, meaning waterproofed. The only skin on the body that is non-keratinized is the lining of skin on the inside of the mouth. Non-keratinized cells allow water to "stay" atop the structure. The protein keratin stiffens epidermal tissue to form fingernails. Nails grow from thin area called the nail matrix; growth of nails is one millimeter per week on average. The lunula is the crescent-shape area at the base of the nail; this is a lighter color as it mixes with the matrix cells. The dermis is the middle layer of skin, composed of dense irregular connective tissues such as collagen with elastin arranged in a diffusely bundled and woven pattern. These layers serve to give elasticity to the integument, allowing stretching and conferring flexibility, while also resisting distortions, wrinkling, and sagging. The dermal layer provides a site for the endings of blood vessels and nerves. Many chromatophores are also stored in this layer as are the bases of integumentary structures such as hair and glands. The hypodermis is made up of fibroblasts, adipose cells, and macrophages. It derives from the mesoderm, but unlike the dermis, it is not derived from the dermatome region of the mesoderm. The hypodermis acts as an energy reserve and is used mainly for fat storage. In most cases ichthyosis vulgaris tends to affect the hair follicles, sweat glands, and nails of the integumentary system in addition to the skin. Ichthyosis vulgaris due to the way it pulls on the skin causes the sweat glands and hair follicles to shrink and even close in some cases. In severe cases a person with ichthyosis vulgaris cannot grow hair. In some cases it can cause the nail growing process to slow and even stop. Ichthyosis vulgaris has two forms;...
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