Use of the Lexeme δερμα (derm) in Terminologia Embryologica

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Víctor Vaca-Merino; Ruth Maldonado-Rengel; Cristopher Nicholson & Mariano del Sol


The lexeme δέρ-μα (derma) that comes from the Greek δέρ-μα/ματος is defined as skin, hide, leather, wineskin (Cortez,2011). We find it in the term ectoderm, mesoderm and endoderm, used to describe the structures during the third week of human embryological development. The meaning and its roots were consulted in the Manuel Greek-Spanish Vox dictionary (Pabón, 1967) and Medical-Biological, Historical and Etymological Dictionary (DICCIOMED) of the University of Salamanca (Cortez); the same way, the use of the terms ectoderm, mesoderm and endoderm was investigated in Terminologia Embryologica (FIPAT, 2013) and in its latest version Terminologia Embryologica (FIPAT, 2017). The search reported that these terms are composed of two Greek roots, the suffix δέρμα (derma) present in the three terms; plus the prefixes ἐκτός which means external; μέσος defined as medium and ἐνδο whose meaning is within. These three tissues are derived in turn from the epiblast that comes from two Greek roots ἐπί- ep (í) which means over + βλαστός - blast (o) which translates as germ, shoot, immature cell form; and from the hypoblast whose term is formed from the Greek roots ὑπό (hypó) meaning ‘under’ + βλαστός - blast (o). We can say that the best term to name these three structures should be βλαστός (blast); and therefore, these three structures should be named as ectoblast, mesoblast and endoblast; because they are immature, transitory cells or tissues and definitive non-tissues such as the skin; which in turn corresponds to the objectives determined by FIPAT.

KEY WORDS: Terminologia Embryologica; Embryo; Ectoderm; Endoderm; Mesoderm.

How to cite this article

VACA-MERINO, V.; MALDONADO-RENGEL, R.; NICHOLSON, C. & DEL SOL, M. Use of the lexeme δέρμα (derm) in Terminologia Embryologica. Int. J. Morphol., 39(1):231-234, 2021.