Human Anatomy and Physiology

What substance is manufactured in the skin that plays a role elsewhere in the body?

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Answer

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01/16/2013

Vitamin D?

No. Vitamin D is not manufactured, rather, it is chemically altered by UV rays on the skin, and thereby, capable of utilization by the liver, and then by the kidneys; the organ responsible for maintenance of calcium levels. Interestingly enough, however, the active form of vitamin D is plentiful in the western diet, and only about 5-10% of vitamin D is actually utilized by the UV ray induced alteration from the skin.

The skin produces many substances, however, most substances are consider paracrine (affecting neighboring cells) rather than endocrine (affecting distant organ systems). More commonly, hormones or endocrine substances, affect the skin, causing pathologic states. An example of paracrine:

- Inflammatory markers- Sites of trauma, or areas of potential infection; cells within the skin induce several chemicals that increase the migration of specialized cells of the immune system, as well as cells from the vasculature (platelts) and other cells that are responsible for healing

- Endocrine: Insulin (acanthosis nigricans) immune complexes (vitiligo, bullae)