International Journal of Molecular Sciences (Nov 2020)

The Cutaneous Wound Innate Immunological Microenvironment

  • Stephen Kirchner,
  • Vivian Lei,
  • Amanda S. MacLeod

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 21, no. 22
p. 8748


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The skin represents the first line of defense and innate immune protection against pathogens. Skin normally provides a physical barrier to prevent infection by pathogens; however, wounds, microinjuries, and minor barrier impediments can present open avenues for invasion through the skin. Accordingly, wound repair and protection from invading pathogens are essential processes in successful skin barrier regeneration. To repair and protect wounds, skin promotes the development of a specific and complex immunological microenvironment within and surrounding the disrupted tissue. This immune microenvironment includes both innate and adaptive processes, including immune cell recruitment to the wound and secretion of extracellular factors that can act directly to promote wound closure and wound antimicrobial defense. Recent work has shown that this immune microenvironment also varies according to the specific context of the wound: the microbiome, neuroimmune signaling, environmental effects, and age play roles in altering the innate immune response to wounding. This review will focus on the role of these factors in shaping the cutaneous microenvironment and how this ultimately impacts the immune response to wounding.