Skin: a new frontier in protective immunity

Wong, D.J. and Chang, H.Y. [creativecommons license] via Wikimedia Commons

Immune cells in the circulatory system are widely believed to be responsible for protection against pathogens. When an antigen is detected, immune cells produce antibodies to destroy it. Once the antigens are destroyed, antibody production ceases, but the cells ‘remember’ the antigen to help prevent future re-infection. These ‘memory cells’ are therefore an essential component of immunity. Recently, Thomas S. Kupper (Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA) and colleagues showed that memory T cells also reside in epithelial tissue and, moreover, that these resident T cells prevent re-infection more effectively than do circulating T cells.

Lab Anim. (NY) 41, 122 (2012).
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