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Keratinocytes in allergic skin diseases

Albanesi, Cristina

Current Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology: October 2010 - Volume 10 - Issue 5 - p 452–456
doi: 10.1097/ACI.0b013e32833e08ae
Skin allergy: Edited by Torsten Zuberbier and Thomas Werfel
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Purpose of review The aim of the review is to provide up-to-date information on the multiple roles of epidermal keratinocytes in the immune reactions associated with allergic contact dermatitis and atopic dermatitis skin diseases.

Recent findings In the last two decades, it has become clear that keratinocytes are highly active immunological cells, with major control over the acute and the chronic phases of skin inflammation by means of cytokine/chemokine production and surface molecule expression. Keratinocyte responses in skin allergic reactions are rather disease-specific and keratinocytes from genetically determined skin disorders, including atopic dermatitis, show intrinsic abnormalities in their capacity to respond to trigger factors.

Summary Lymphokines and cytokines released by T lymphocytes and other immune cells represent the most important stimuli that elicit the inflammatory activation of keratinocytes. Depending on the type and extent of T-cell infiltrate present in allergic contact dermatitis and atopic dermatitis skin lesions, keratinocytes are exposed to different cytokine micromilieu and, in turn, produce flogosis mediators qualitatively and quantitatively specific for each disease. Keratinocyte-derived inflammatory molecules amplificate skin immune responses associated with allergic contact dermatitis and atopic dermatitis, and contribute to the disease process and clinical phenotype development.

Laboratory of Experimental Immunology, Istituto Dermopatico dell’Immacolata (IDI)-IRCCS, Rome, Italy

Correspondence to Dr Cristina Albanesi, PhD, Laboratory of Experimental Immunology, Istituto Dermopatico dell’Immacolata (IDI)-IRCCS, Via Monti di Creta, 104, Rome 00167, Italy Tel: +39 06 6646 4776; fax: +39 06 6646 4705; e-mail: c.albanesi@idi.it

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