Innate immunity: a crucial target for zinc in the treatment of inflammatory dermatosis

J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2011 Oct;25(10):1146-52. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-3083.2010.03934.x. Epub 2011 Jan 24.


Background: Zinc is a cofactor of many metalloenzymes explaining that it plays a crucial role in cell proliferation and also in the regulation of immune system. It has been shown by different data that it could play a crucial role not only in the regulation of adaptative immunity but also in innate immunity which plays a crucial role in skin.

Objectives: In this article, we proposed an overview of published information in the literature, on zinc and cutaneous innate immunity.

Methods: At the basic level, we gave a synthesis of data related to zinc's cutaneous targets in innate immunity, and then at clinical level selected studies on cutaneous disorders where zinc could be a therapeutic approach and discussed the targets of zinc in these pathologies.

Results/conclusion: The specific activity of zinc salts on the innate immunity of the skin with different targets can explain why zinc is more specifically involved in cutaneous affection in which inflammation plays a particular important role, such as inflammatory acne, acrodermatitis enteropathica, hidradenitis suppurativa, folliculitis decalvans.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate / physiology*
  • Inflammation / drug therapy
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Inflammation / physiopathology
  • Skin / physiopathology
  • Skin Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Skin Diseases / metabolism
  • Skin Diseases / physiopathology
  • Zinc / physiology*
  • Zinc / therapeutic use*


  • Cytokines
  • Zinc