Skin immunity: dissecting the complex biology of our body’s outer barrier

Chenlu Zhang, Geil R. Merana, Tamia Harris-Tryon, Tiffany C. Scharschmidt

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Our skin contributes critically to health via its role as a barrier tissue, carefully regulating passage of key substrates while also providing defense against exogenous threats. Immunological processes are integral to almost every skin function and paramount to our ability to live symbiotically with skin commensal microbes and other environmental stimuli. While many parallels can be drawn to immunobiology at other mucosal sites, skin immunity demonstrates unique features that relate to its distinct topography, chemical composition and microbial ecology. Here we provide an overview of skin as an immune organ, with reference to the broader context of mucosal immunology. We review paradigms of innate as well as adaptive immune function and highlight how skin-specific structures such as hair follicles and sebaceous glands interact and contribute to these processes. Finally, we highlight for the mucosal immunology community a few emerging areas of interest for the skin immunity field moving forward.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)551-561
Number of pages11
JournalMucosal Immunology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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