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J Invest Dermatol. 2009 Jan;129(1):14-30. doi: 10.1038/jid.2008.259.

Atopic dermatitis: a disease caused by innate immune defects?

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Department of Dermatology, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York 14642, USA.


Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a common chronic inflammatory skin disease that has increased in prevalence over the last half century. A growing body of evidence suggests that there are a variety of defects in the innate immune system that collectively affect the development and severity of AD. The reduction in antimicrobial peptides, diminished recruitment of innate immune cells (PMNs, pDC, and NK cells) to the skin, epithelial barrier disruption, and TLR2 defects are just some of the credible explanations for AD patients' susceptibility to pathogens such as Staphylococcus aureus, herpes simplex virus, and vaccinia virus. Although the focus for several years has been to identify defects in the innate immune system that might explain AD patients' susceptibility to cutaneous pathogens, it has become clear that some innate immune defects might promote inflammation and thereby aggravate or even induce the development of AD. Here we review the innate immune system, and highlight many of the potential innate networks that may be important in AD patients susceptible to cutaneous pathogens.

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