ABSTRACT

The integrity of the skin and the strong resistance against external shearing forces are provided by the epidermal basement membrane, a highly specialized structure which separates and concomitantly attaches the epidermis and the dermis to each other. Basement membranes are sheet-like, complex molecular networks that connect external or internal epithelia with stromal mesenchyme but unique, highly specialised structures within the basement membranes contribute to tissue-specific functions, such as the tight dermal-epidermal adhesion in the skin.