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Cytokines and the Skin Barrier
Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Medical School, RWTH Aachen University, Pauwelsstrasse 30, 52074 Aachen, Germany
Department of Dermatology and Allergology, Medical School, RWTH Aachen University, Pauwelsstrasse 30, 52074 Aachen, Germany
These authors contributed equally to this work.
* Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 6 February 2013; in revised form: 5 March 2013 / Accepted: 18 March 2013 / Published: 26 March 2013
Abstract: The skin is the largest organ of the human body and builds a barrier to protect us from the harmful environment and also from unregulated loss of water. Keratinocytes form the skin barrier by undergoing a highly complex differentiation process that involves changing their morphology and structural integrity, a process referred to as cornification. Alterations in the epidermal cornification process affect the formation of the skin barrier. Typically, this results in a disturbed barrier, which allows the entry of substances into the skin that are immunologically reactive. This contributes to and promotes inflammatory processes in the skin but also affects other organs. In many common skin diseases, including atopic dermatitis and psoriasis, a defect in the formation of the skin barrier is observed. In these diseases the cytokine composition within the skin is different compared to normal human skin. This is the result of resident skin cells that produce cytokines, but also because additional immune cells are recruited. Many of the cytokines found in defective skin are able to influence various processes of differentiation and cornification. Here we summarize the current knowledge on cytokines and their functions in healthy skin and their contributions to inflammatory skin diseases.
Keywords: skin barrier; cytokine; cornification; atopic dermatitis; psoriasis; interleukin; filaggrin; keratin; involucrin; keratinocytes
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Hänel, K.H.; Cornelissen, C.; Lüscher, B.; Baron, J.M. Cytokines and the Skin Barrier. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14, 6720-6745.
Hänel KH, Cornelissen C, Lüscher B, Baron JM. Cytokines and the Skin Barrier. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2013; 14(4):6720-6745.
Hänel, Kai H.; Cornelissen, Christian; Lüscher, Bernhard; Baron, Jens M. 2013. "Cytokines and the Skin Barrier." Int. J. Mol. Sci. 14, no. 4: 6720-6745.