Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Double duty: Versatile immune cells play dual roles in human skin

Date:
May 3, 2012
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
A new study helps to resolve an ongoing controversy about whether Langerhans cells (LCs) in human skin function to suppress the immune response and promote tolerance to normal human skin and its "friendly" microbial flora or mobilize a lethal attack against harmful foreign invaders. The research reveals that, depending on the situation, these versatile immune cells can perform either function.

A new study helps to resolve an ongoing controversy about whether Langerhans cells (LCs) in human skin function to suppress the immune response and promote tolerance to normal human skin and its "friendly" microbial flora or mobilize a lethal attack against harmful foreign invaders.

Related Articles


The research, published online May 3rd in the journal Immunity by Cell Press, reveals that, depending on the situation, these versatile immune cells can perform either function.

Adult human skin contains billions of resident immune cells called T cells that provide protection from invading pathogens. Skin also contains LCs, which reside in the outermost layer of skin, the epidermis. LCs are known to interact with T cells and are traditionally considered to be the first line of defense against invading pathogens. However, previous studies have provided conflicting results about the specific function of LCs. Also, until now, it has been difficult to characterize the role of LCs in human skin, primarily because much of the research has been done using mouse models and there appear to be significant differences between LCs in mouse and human skin.

"There is substantial controversy surrounding the role of LCs with regards to whether they serve to stimulate the immune response upon encountering an invading pathogen or whether they play a more immunomodulatory role and induce tolerance in normal skin," explains senior study author, Dr. Thomas S. Kupper from Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Harvard Skin Disease Research Center. Taking advantage of a significant technical advance in the ability extract large numbers of specific immune cells from human skin, Dr. Kupper and colleagues examined the function of LCs under normal conditions and in the presence of a pathogen.

Interestingly, the researchers found that LCs interact with two different types of skin resident T cells. Under normal conditions, LCs induced proliferation of "regulatory" T cells that helped to prevent the immune system from attacking normal skin. In the presence of a pathogen, the LCs stimulated another type of T cell that mediates protective immunity. "Essentially, this means that LCs can apply the brakes to the immune response and maintain tolerance under normal conditions, but also have the capacity to push the gas and activate protective skin-resident T cells to mount an immune response when confronted with potentially harmful invaders," concludes Dr. Kupper. "This context-specific response is perfectly suited to a cell like the LC which is at the interface of the body and the environment."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Julien Seneschal, RachaelA. Clark, Ahmed Gehad, ClareM. Baecher-Allan, ThomasS. Kupper. Human Epidermal Langerhans Cells Maintain Immune Homeostasis in Skin by Activating Skin Resident Regulatory T Cells. Immunity, 2012; DOI: 10.1016/j.immuni.2012.03.018

Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Double duty: Versatile immune cells play dual roles in human skin." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120503125810.htm>.
Cell Press. (2012, May 3). Double duty: Versatile immune cells play dual roles in human skin. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120503125810.htm
Cell Press. "Double duty: Versatile immune cells play dual roles in human skin." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120503125810.htm (accessed December 17, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flu Outbreak Closing Schools in Ohio

Flu Outbreak Closing Schools in Ohio

AP (Dec. 17, 2014) A wave of flu illnesses has forced some Ohio schools to shut down over the past week. State officials confirmed one pediatric flu-related death, a 15-year-old girl in southern Ohio. (Dec. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Yoga can help your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and heart just as much as biking and walking does, a new study suggests. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins