The multitasking organ: recent insights into skin immune function

Immunity. 2011 Dec 23;35(6):857-69. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2011.12.003.


The skin provides the first line defense of the human body against injury and infection. By integrating recent findings in cutaneous immunology with fundamental concepts of skin biology, we portray the skin as a multitasking organ ensuring body homeostasis. Crosstalk between the skin and its microbial environment is also highlighted as influencing the response to injury, infection, and autoimmunity. The importance of the skin immune network is emphasized by the identification of several skin-resident cell subsets, each with its unique functions. Lessons learned from targeted therapy in inflammatory skin conditions, such as psoriasis, provide further insights into skin immune function. Finally, we look at the skin as an interacting network of immune signaling pathways exemplified by the development of a disease interactome for psoriasis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Skin / immunology*
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Skin Diseases / immunology