General and Systemic Histopathology, C601&C602
Disorders of the Skin
The skin is a much more
complex organ than most people think, and this includes many physicians.
It's involvement in normal physiology goes far beyond just holding us together
and serving as a barrier to the outside world. Obviously it's involved in
temperature regulation, fluid and electrolyte balance (at least secondarily),
antigen processing and even vitamin metabolism. Because it is one of our
principal points of contact with the outside world, it is subject to many
environmental stresses. These stresses may produce fairly diagnostic changes
or in some cases outright diseases. We will look at a number of lesions as
well as ways in which the skin tries to adapt to changing environmental influences.
Principal among these is solar induced injury, and resultant skin malignancies.
But we must keep in mind that the skin will also reflect underlying, and
often quite distant, medical problems. We will see examples of metastatic
cancer to the skin, as well as immunologic and infectious injury. Although
our collection may be somewhat limited, we will look at representative examples
of most forms of injury of the skin, and you should be able to apply what
you learn to most other cutaneous disorders. Hang in there.
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