Research – Innate antimicrobial immunity in the skin: A protective barrier against bacteria, viruses, and fungi


Innate immunity is an essential defense against pathogens

The epidermis, the outermost layer of the skin, is a physical barrier against pathogens. However, breach of the skin barrier through wounding introduces a myriad of microbes to the site of injury. Upon disturbance of the epidermal barrier, the innate immune system and its effectors play a key role in protecting humans against cutaneous and systemic infection [1]. Major constituents of the innate immune system include phagocytic cells, such as macrophages, neutrophils, and dendritic cells, as well as innate leukocytes, such as natural killer (NK) cells, mast cells, basophils, and eosinophils. In addition, epidermal keratinocytes act as active innate immune cells. In response to sensing pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) expressed by microbes and host danger molecules, innate immune receptors present on keratinocytes become activated, causing release of inflammatory cytokines and host antimicrobial molecules [2, 3].

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