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Abstract

Incubation of skin in 2 N sodium bromide allows separation of dermal and epidermal layers leaving an intact basal lamina covering the dermal portion. Examination of the surface of the dermis by SEM shows cells migrating through the basal lamina. By scanning and transmission electron microscopy, these cells have the characteristics of lymphocytes. The migrating lymphocytes produce a sequence of basal lamina deformations including dome formation, effacement of corrugations, and central fenestrations with hole formation allowing lymphocyte passage. Following passage there is reestablishment of a relatively smooth basal lamina in the crater base, effacement of the crater rim, and finally reformation of basal lamina corrugations. This deformability of the basal lamina supports the hypothesis that basal lamina is thixotropic. This study is the first demonstration in three dimensions of lymphocyte traffic across the basal lamina, an important component of skinassociated lymphoid tissue (SALT).