In English | En español
Questions About Cancer? 1-800-4-CANCER

NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms

Page Options

  • Print This Page

Widget

NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms



Merkel cell  listen  (MER-kul sel)

  A special type of cell found right below the epidermis (top layer of skin). These cells are very close to the nerve endings that receive the sensation of touch and may be involved in touch. The cells also contain substances that may act as hormones.

Enlarge
Anatomy of the skin with Merkel cells; drawing shows normal skin anatomy, including the epidermis, dermis, hair follicles, sweat glands, hair shafts, veins, arteries, fatty tissue, nerves, lymph vessels, oil glands, and subcutaneous tissue. The pullout shows a close-up of the epidermis with Merkel cells above the dermis with a vein and artery. Nerves are connected to Merkel cells.