Acid phosphatase, non-specific esterase, alkaline phosphatase, monoamine oxidase and true lipase activities, in the epidermis of Natrix piscator in different stages of the sloughing cycle, have been localized using various histochemical techniques.
Different layers in scale epidermis have staining properties similar to corresponding layers in hinge epidermis.
Acid phosphatase and non-specific esterase activity in cell layers undergoing keratinization, and the lacunar tissue undergoing disintegration are associated with hydrolytic and catabolic wasting processes involving cell death. The activity of these enzymes in the clear layer is associated with the breaking down of the cementing substance resulting in the separation of clear layer from underlying tissue and facilitating the shedding of old slough.
Alkaline phosphatase activity in the stratum germinativum and undifferentiated epidermal cells has been associated with cell proliferation and differentiation. The presence of alkaline phosphatase in the lacunar tissue and clear layer has been correlated with the synthesis of mucopolysaccharides in these layers.
Monoamine oxidase and true lipase activity could not be located in the epidermis at any stage of the sloughing cycle.