What is a Merkel cell?

Updated: Jan 18, 2019
  • Author: Arjun S Joshi, MD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Merkel cells are nondendritic, nonkeratinocytic epithelial cells located primarily in or near the basal layer of the epidermis. A few of these cells are also found in the dermis and portions of ectodermally derived mucosa. Merkel cells are scarce in normal skin, but they are commonly found in innervated clusters around hair follicles. These cells are thought to function as slowly adapting mechanoreceptors that mediate the senses of touch and hair movement.

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