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J Dermatol Sci. 1996 Oct;13(1):5-10.

Regulation of the immune response by epidermal cytokines and neurohormones.

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Department of Dermatology, University of M√ľnster, Germany.


The ability of the cellular components of the skin immune system to mount various types of immune responses is largely dependent upon their ability to release and to respond to different signals provided by immunoregulatory mediators such as cytokines and neuropeptides. In principle, almost every cytokine known so far, including interleukins (IL), interferons (IFN), tumor necrosis factors (TNF), colony stimulating factors (CSF) and several growth factors can be detected in the skin under certain physiological or pathological conditions. There is recent evidence that neuropeptides such as substance P, calcitonin-related gene product (CGRP) a.o. as well as neurohormones such as proopiomelanocortin (POMC), which is the precursor of several peptidehormones including melanocyte stimulating hormones (MSH), are present in epidermal cells, cutaneous tumors and inflammatory cells infiltrating the skin. In addition to their well known functions as neurotransmitters or hormones, these peptides have recently been recognized as potent immunomodulating agents which inhibit the production and activity of immunoregulatory and proinflammatory cytokines (IL-1, IL-2, IFN gamma) but induce the release of factors, e.g., IL-10, which downregulate immune responses. Accordingly, in animals, alpha MSH and CGRP have been shown to inhibit the induction of contact hypersensitivity reactions. Therefore, a complex network of interacting mediators including cytokines and neuropeptides within the cutaneous microenvironment are crucial elements of the induction, elicitation and regulation of cutaneous immune responses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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