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Nat Immunol. 2005 Jan;6(1):73-9. Epub 2004 Dec 12.

Dendritic epidermal T cells regulate skin homeostasis through local production of insulin-like growth factor 1.

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Department of Immunology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California 92037, USA.


A fine balance between rates of proliferation and apoptosis in the skin provides a defensive barrier and a mechanism for tissue repair after damage. Vgamma3(+) dendritic epidermal T cells (DETCs) are primary modulators of skin immune responses. Here we show that DETCs both produce and respond to insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) after T cell receptor stimulation. Mice deficient in DETCs had a notable increase in epidermal apoptosis that was abrogated by the addition of DETCs or IGF-1. Furthermore, DETC-deficient mice had reduced IGF-1 receptor activation at wound sites. These findings indicate critical functions for DETC-mediated IGF-1 production in regulating skin homeostasis and repair.

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