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A historical perspective
Paul Langerhans (born Berlin, Germany, 25 July 1847; died Funchal, Madeira, 20 July 1888), the son of a well known physician in Berlin, studied medicine at the Universities of Jena and Berlin, graduating in 1869. He made an outstanding contribution to medicine while still an undergraduate student, when he described a new epidermal cell in a paper entitled “On the nerves of the human skin”.1 Using the gold chloride techniques of Julius Cohnheim, he described the dendritic, non-pigmentary cells in the epidermis that he regarded as intraepidermal receptors for extracutaneous signals of the nervous system. These cells were an enigma to dermatologists for over a century before the recognition …