Peculiar epidermal peg pattern in cane rat skin
Skin is the largest organ in the body of man and animal where interdigitation of the dermal papillae with epidermal pegs enhances structural stability of the skin especially where frequent pressure is applied. Cane rats are robust rodents with stocky bodies. They are only found in Africa and only a single species known as Thryonomys has been found to exist. This work was designed to establish the nature of the interdigitating structural disposition of the epidermal-dermal interface in T. swinderianus (Greater cane rat) which may account for the fragility and easy tear of their skin. A total of twenty adult male greater cane rats were used. Three samples sized 1cm to 2cm were taken from each of 14 different body sites for histological evaluation for rete pegs. These pegs were generally few in six regions with the following average per light microscopic field: head (5.5±3.7), neck (1.0±1.7), forelimb (5.6±3.7), trunk (4.3±4.2), tail (1.0±1.7) and the hindlimb (6.3±5.3). The neck and the tail parts of the body have the least concentration of this structure compared to other regions evaluated. This few in number of rete pegs may account for the fragility of the skin which makes it difficult to restrain or handle without damage during research work procedures and management during domestication.
Keywords: Epidermal pegs, Fragility, Histology, Peculiar, Thryonomys