The skin is an essential organ to the human body and it serves as the first line of defense against major pathogens and physical and chemical insults. The skin provides a sophisticated network of effector cells, microbes and molecular mechanisms to constitute a unique system of immune surveillance. An inadequate immune response leads to infections or tumors while an excessive immune responses may lead to autoimmunity or inflammation.

Billions of microbes including bacteria and fungi that live in harmony on our skin. Despite their close proximity with immune cells including DCs (Langerhans cells) and lymphocytes that reside within the skin tissue, in general no activation of the immune system occurs. This is likely due to cross-talk between skin resident immune cells that actively avert recognition of these microbes in exchange for the benefits they provide (i.e. competition for space/nutrients with pathogenic microbes).

Therefore, studying the mechanisms that regulate or disrupt skin immune cell interactions, migration and infiltration requires sophisticated yet cost-effective systems to advance new therapeutics, cosmetics and diagnostic modalities.

Example Studies

Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are found ubiquitously in the environment, such as in food products, cosmetics, and plastic packages, and can impact immune function.  These compounds can be naturally occurring or synthetic.  Specific examples include phytoestrogens, bisphenols, phthalates, triclosan, and parabens.  Importantly, these compounds can impact immune function by altering signal transduction pathways (NF-kB, MAPK); cytokine production (TNF-α, IL-1β, and IFN-γ); and the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS, NO). These factors can be measured using IMMUNE 3D®:

  • Test to determine if compounds are inflammatory
  • Assess if specific compounds modulate the production of defensins and cathelicidins
  • Measure the impact of compounds on collagen fibers and tight junctions
  • Determine if specific factors impede trafficking of Langerhans cells, keratinocytes, or epidermal T cells