One Size Does Not Fit All: Diversifying Immune Function in the Skin

January 15, 2022

Shruti Naik

Journal of Immunology

Our body’s most outward facing epithelial barrier, the skin, serves as the frontline defense against myriad environmental assailants. To combat these motley threats, the skin has evolved a sophisticated immunological arsenal. In this article, I provide an overview of the skin’s complex architecture and the distinct microniches in which immune cells reside and function. I review burgeoning literature on the synchronized immune, stromal, epithelial, and neuronal cell responses in healthy and inflamed skin. Next, I delve into the distinct requirement and mechanisms of long-term immune surveillance and tissue adaptation at the cutaneous frontier. Finally, by discussing the contributions of immune cells in maintaining and restoring tissue integrity, I underscore the constellation of noncanonical functions undertaken by the skin immune system. Just as our skin’s immune system benefits from embracing diverse defense strategies, so, too, must we in the immunology research community support disparate perspectives and people from all walks of life.