Research ArticleHuman Immunology

Human skin is protected by four functionally and phenotypically discrete populations of resident and recirculating memory T cells

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science Translational Medicine  18 Mar 2015:
Vol. 7, Issue 279, pp. 279ra39
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3010302

T cells are more than skin deep

Skin is more than just a passive barrier to infection—it’s a dynamic immune microenvironment. Indeed, skin in a human adult is home to around 20 billion memory T cells; however, little is known about the composition and function of these cells. Now, Watanabe et al. characterize four different populations of T cells in the skin, two resident and two recirculating. The resident memory T cells had more potent effector functions than recirculating cells as well as different proliferative capacities. In addition, the recirculating cells returned to the skin at different rates. These data suggest that the different T cell populations in the skin may each provide a singular function in protecting the body from infection.

View Full Text

Stay Connected to Science Translational Medicine