Author(s): Hata TR, Gallo RL
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Abstract The innate immune system evolved more than 2 billion years ago to first recognize pathogens then eradicate them. Several distinct defects in this ancient but rapidly responsive element of human immune defense account for the increased incidence of skin infections in atopics. These defects include abnormalities in the physical barrier of the epidermis, alterations in microbial pattern recognition receptors such as toll receptors and nucleotide binding oligomerization domains, and a diminished capacity to increase the expression of antimicrobial peptides during inflammation. Several antimicrobial peptides are affected including; cathelicidin, HBD-2, and HBD-3, which are lower in lesional skin of atopics compared with other inflammatory skin diseases, and dermcidin, which is decreased in sweat. Other defects in the immune defense barrier of atopics include a relative deficiency in plasmacytoid dendritic cells. In the future, understanding the cause of these defects may allow therapeutic intervention to reduce the incidence of infection in atopic individuals and potentially decrease the severity of this disorder.
This article was published in Semin Cutan Med Surg
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology