epidermal growth factor

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ep·i·der·mal growth fac·tor (EGF),

a heat-stable antigenic protein isolated from the submaxillary glands of male mice; when injected into newborn animals, it accelerates eyelid opening and tooth eruption, stimulates epidermal growth and keratinization, and, in larger doses, inhibits body growth and hair development and produces fatty livers.

epidermal growth factor (EGF)

a mitogenic polypeptide produced by many cell types and made in large amounts by some tumors. It promotes growth and differentiation, is essential in embryogenesis, and is also important in wound healing. It has been found to be part of a family of compounds that includes also transforming growth factor.


A gene on chromosome 4q25 that encodes epidermal growth factor, a potent mitogen that plays a key role in the growth, proliferation and differentiation of numerous cell types; it acts by binding the high-affinity cell surface receptor, epidermal growth factor receptor.

Molecular pathology
Defects in EGF cause hypomagnesaemia type 4; EGF dysregulation is linked to the growth and progression of certain cancers.


pertaining to or emanating from epidermis.

epidermal appendage
see hair, claw, hoof, horn, chestnut (1), ergot2, dewclaw, comb, wattle, spur (3), pad, footpad, beak, frontal process, feather (1), cere, scale, fin, antler, bristle (1), wool, mohair, cashmere, angora.
epidermal clefts
slit-like discontinuities in the epidermis that do not contain fluid.
epidermal collarette
a feature of a skin lesion, consisting of an encircling rim of epidermal scale with the free edge toward the central area. May represent the margins of an earlier bulla, vesicle or pustule. Characteristic of bullous pemphigoid.
epidermal crust
a consolidated mass of cellular debris, dried exudate, serum, hair, epidermophytic hyphae. Usually is dry and crumbly but in parakeratosis may have a greasy feel about it.
epidermal cyst, epidermoid cyst
an intradermal or subcutaneous cyst containing keratinizing squamous epithelium. It arises from occluded hair follicles. Called also infundibular cyst, wen.
epidermal dysplasia
abnormal development of individual cells of the epidermis. In West Highland white terriers, a familial skin disease characterized by seborrhea, pruritus, alopecia and lichenification from an early age. Infection by Malassezia spp. is a common feature. See also inherited epidermal dysplasia of calves.
epidermal growth factor
a potent growth factor for both epithelial and fibroblast cells.
epidermal lacunae
see epidermal clefts (above).
epidermal laminae
structures formed of epidermal pegs; part of the interdigitating structure between the dermis and the epidermis. Called also epidermal ridges.
epidermal limbi
the layer of soft, light-colored horn that covers the outer side of the coronary border and merges with the horn of the hoof.
epidermal-melanin unit
a melanocyte and adjacent keratinocytes.
epidermal necrolysis
see toxic epidermal necrolysis.
epidermal nibbles
focal areas of epidermal edema, eosinophils and necrosis; suggestive of ectoparasite injury to the skin.
epidermal papilla
a knob-like projection of the epidermis into the dermis; a touch receptor. Called also tylotrich pad and haarscheiben.
epidermal pegs
see rete pegs.
epidermal renewal time
see keratinocyte transit time.
epidermal ridge
see rete ridge.
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