The molecular basis of lymphocyte recruitment to the skin: clues for pathogenesis and selective therapies of inflammatory disorders

J Invest Dermatol. 2003 Nov;121(5):951-62. doi: 10.1046/j.1523-1747.2003.12563.x.


Spatial compartmentalization and tissue-selective localization of T lymphocytes to the skin are crucial for immune surveillance and the pathogenesis of various disorders including common inflammatory diseases such as atopic dermatitis or psoriasis, but also malignancies such as cutaneous T cell lymphomas. Cutaneous recruitment of lymphocytes is a highly complex process that involves extravasation, migration through the dermal connective tissue, and eventually, localization to the epidermis. An intertwined network of cytokines and chemokines provides the road signs for leukocyte migration, while various adhesion receptors orchestrate the dynamic events of cell-cell and cell-substrate interactions resulting in cutaneous localization of T cells. Selectively targeting the functions of molecules involved in this interplay promises exciting new therapeutic options for treating inflammatory skin disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Movement
  • Chemokines / physiology
  • Cytokines / physiology
  • Dermatitis / etiology*
  • Dermatitis / immunology
  • Dermatitis / therapy
  • Humans
  • Lymphocytes / physiology*
  • Skin / immunology*


  • Chemokines
  • Cytokines