Immune surveillance in the skin: mechanisms and clinical consequences

Nat Rev Immunol. 2004 Mar;4(3):211-22. doi: 10.1038/nri1310.


The skin, as the primary interface between the body and the environment, provides the first line of defence against a broad array of microbial pathogens and trauma. In addition to its properties as a physical barrier, the skin has many active defence mechanisms. In this review, we discuss the interaction between the innate and adaptive immune systems in the skin as a model for immune function at epithelial-cell interfaces with the environment. How these mechanisms account for the robust nature of cutaneous immune surveillance and how their dysregulation drives the pathogenesis of inflammatory skin disorders and skin-based tumours are the subjects of this review.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cancer Vaccines / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immune System / immunology*
  • Immunity, Innate / immunology*
  • Psoriasis / immunology
  • Skin / immunology*
  • Smallpox Vaccine / immunology


  • Cancer Vaccines
  • Smallpox Vaccine