Cutaneous barriers and immunity |
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Cutaneous barriers and immunity

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The skin is the outer most barrier that ensures protection from external harm. The understanding of role of skin has evolved from an inert mechanical barrier to an active organ that can sense alarming signals and mount perfectly adapted defense measures in response to invading pathogens.

The cutaneous barrier is a multifaceted structure comprising of four functional barriers: The microbiome, chemical, physical, and immune barriers

Each of these layers function to both stabilize and restore cutaneous homeostasis and to mount measures of defense when needed.

Role of skin barrier layers in maintaining integrity

Alterations in each component of the skin barrier can cause pathogenic conditions, such as skin infections, sterile skin inflammation, allergic sensitization, or cutaneous tumor development. Lets understand how a well-balanced cutaneous barrier helps in the maintenance of body integrity and health.

Microbiome layer

Chemical barrier

Acidic pH of the skin has a central role in the functioning of the SC and cutaneous barrier

Physical barrier

Immune barrier

Inflammatory processes are beneficial in terms of eradicating pathogens.

Two prerequisites that help restore barrier integrity

Key messages

A well-balanced cutaneous barrier is a prerequisite to the maintenance of body integrity and health by providing protection from external harm, and rapid restoration of the barrier and immune homeostasis in response to disturbances. Understanding the layers of cutaneous barrier may help to develop strategies to conserve the integrity of the skin and to support the recovery of disturbed barriers.

Reference: Eyerich S, et al. Cutaneous barriers and skin immunity: differentiating a connected network. Trends in immunology. 2018 Apr 1;39(4):315-27.

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