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A Journal on Dermatology

Journal of Istituto Dermatologico San Gallicano
Official Journal of the Associazione Dermatologi Ospedalieri Italiani - A.D.O.I.
Indexed/Abstracted in: EMBASE, Scopus



Esperienze Dermatologiche 2013 June;15(2):51-61

language: Italian

Antimicrobic skin defences

Terranova F.

Medico Libero Professionista, Docente della Scuola Internazionale di Medicina Estetica della Fondazione Internazionale Fatebenefratelli, Roma


Human skin, exposed to microbial attacks, must shield itself and the underlying tissues. For this purpose, it does not merely rely on systemic immune defences, but establishes some self-protections. Moreover, to act as a barrier, the skin has immune functions related to natural immunity but also able to support the acquired immunity. The keratinocytes express chemo sensors, such as Toll-like receptors, able to recognize molecular components (lipopolysaccharides, etc.) common to various microbial species and also to sense detrimental non-infectious factors; these receptors generate signal that trigger the production of antimicrobial peptides (defensins and cathelicidins), which perform bactericidal and immuno-modulatory activities. The keratinocytes also produce immunoregulatory cytokines, in basal conditions and/or in response to different stimuli and are also able to assume the role of APC. The healthy human skin hosts a lymphocyte population larger than blood, almost exclusively composed by T cells, together with small amounts of atypical elements: Tγδ lymphocytes, NK and iNKT. Recent studies have revealed the role played by these cells in normal skin and in a number of skin diseases. Finally, the dermis and the epidermis host distinct subtypes of dendritic cells that arise from different stem cells and whose functions appear at least partly distinct

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