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Mol Immunol. 2015 Jul;66(1):14-21. doi: 10.1016/j.molimm.2014.10.023. Epub 2014 Nov 13.

The immunology of the porcine skin and its value as a model for human skin.

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Institute of Virology and Immunology, Sensemattstrasse 293, 3147 Mittelhäusern, Switzerland. Electronic address:
Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac), University of Saskatchewan, 120 Veterinary Road, S7N 5E3 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Institute of Virology and Immunology, Sensemattstrasse 293, 3147 Mittelhäusern, Switzerland.


The porcine skin has striking similarities to the human skin in terms of general structure, thickness, hair follicle content, pigmentation, collagen and lipid composition. This has been the basis for numerous studies using the pig as a model for wound healing, transdermal delivery, dermal toxicology, radiation and UVB effects. Considering that the skin also represents an immune organ of utmost importance for health, immune cells present in the skin of the pig will be reviewed. The focus of this review is on dendritic cells, which play a central role in the skin immune system as they serve as sentinels in the skin, which offers a large surface area exposed to the environment. Based on a literature review and original data we propose a classification of porcine dendritic cell subsets in the skin corresponding to the subsets described in the human skin. The equivalent of the human CD141(+) DC subset is CD1a(-)CD4(-)CD172a(-)CADM1(high), that of the CD1c(+) subset is CD1a(+)CD4(-)CD172a(+)CADM1(+/low), and porcine plasmacytoid dendritic cells are CD1a(-)CD4(+)CD172a(+)CADM1(-). CD209 and CD14 could represent markers of inflammatory monocyte-derived cells, either dendritic cells or macrophages. Future studies for example using transriptomic analysis of sorted populations are required to confirm the identity of these cells.


Animal model; Dendritic cells; Dermis; Epidermis; Lymphocytes; Porcine skin

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