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The human cutaneous chemokine system

By Bernhard eMoser and Michelle L. McCully


Irrespective of the immune status, the vast majority of all lymphocytes reside in peripheral tissues whereas those present in blood only amount to a small fraction of the total. It has been estimated that T cells in healthy human skin outnumber those present in blood by at least a factor of two. How lymphocytes within these two compartments relate to each other is not well understood. However, mounting evidence suggest that the study of T cell subsets present in peripheral blood does not reflect the function of their counterparts at peripheral sites. This is especially true under steady-state conditions whereby long-lived memory T cells in healthy tissues, notably those in epithelial tissues at body surfaces, are thought to fulfil a critical immune surveillance function by contributing to the first line of defence against a series of local threats, including microbes, tumours and toxins, and by participating in wound healing. The relative scarcity of information regarding peripheral T cells and the factors regulating their localization is primarily due to inherent difficulties in obtaining healthy tissue for the extraction and study of immune cells on a routine basis. This is most certainly true for humans. Here, we review our current understanding of T cell homing to human skin and discuss candidate chemokines that may account for the tissue selectivity in this process

Topics: Chemokines, Skin, human, Homing, memory T cells, immune surveillance, Immunologic diseases. Allergy, RC581-607
Publisher: Frontiers Media S.A.
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.3389/fimmu.2011.00033
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