Melanocytes are dendritic, pigment-producing cells located in the basal cell layer. They protect the skin from ultraviolet radiation.

They are highly differentiated cells that produce pigment melanin inside melanosomes. This cell is dark and dendritic in shape. Melanin production is the basic function of melanocytes.

When ultraviolet rays penetrate the skin and damage DNA, thymidine dinucleotide fragments from damaged DNA will trigger melanogenesis and cause the melanocyte to produce melanosomes, which are then transferred by dendrites to the top layer of keratinocytes.

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