Cytokeratins (CK) are intermediate filaments of epithelial cells, both in keratinizing tissue (ie., skin) and non-keratinizing cells (ie., mesothelial cells). Although not a traditional marker for endothelial cells, cytokeratins have also been found in some microvascular endothelial cells. Atleast 20 different cytokeratins (CK) in the molecular range of 40-70 kDa and isoelectric points of 5-8.5 can be identified using two dimensional gel electrophoresis. Biochemically, most members of the CK family fall into one of two classes, type I (acidic polypeptides) and type II (basic polypeptides). At least one member of the acidic family and one member of the basic family is expressed in all epithelial cells. Monoclonal antibodies to cytokeratin proteins can be useful markers for tumor identification and classification._x000B__x000B_CK18 is an acidic keratin which is found primarily in non-squamous epithelia and is present in a majority of adenocarcinomas and ductal carcinomas but not in squamous cell carcinomas. CK18 exists in combination with CK8, a basic keratin. Hepatocellular carcinomas have been reportedly defined by the use of antibodies that recognize only cytokeratins 8 and 18.
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