Table of contents :

  • cutaneous apparatus
  • subcutis / hypoderma
  • thermoregulation
  • thermogenesis
  • immune responses : skin-associated lymphoid tissue (SALT) / cutaneous-associated lymphoid tissue (CALT)

  • Cutaneous apparatus (click here for eyelids) : body surface area (BSA) = 1.8-2 m2 Subcutis / subcutaneous tissue / hypoderma contains adipose tissue and connective tissue that houses larger blood vessels and nerves. This layer is important is the regulation of temperature of the skin itself and the body. The size of this layer varies throughout the body and from person to person (see also diseases of subcutis) thermoregulation : the regulation of heat thermogenesis : the production of heat, especially within the animal body. Cutaneous immune responses / skin-associated lymphoid tissue (SALT) / cutaneous-associated lymphoid tissue (CALT) : we live in a hostile environment, surrounded by microbial pathogens and subject to a range of physical and chemical insults. To survive in this environment, vertebrates have evolved complex immune systems. A key element of this defence is the deployment of rapid response elements at the most probable sites of attack, which are the epithelial-cell boundaries between the body and the environment in the skin, gut and lungs. As the body's largest and most exposed interface with the environment, the skin has a central role in host defence. Before the relatively recent discovery of the immunological defences of skin, the cutaneous interface was viewed as a passive barrier between the host and the hostile environment. In the past few decades, however, it has become apparent that the mechanical aspects of epidermal defence are reinforced by a versatile and robust system of immune surveillanceref. The crucial role of immune surveillance in maintaining homeostasis is evident from the marked increase in the frequency and severity of cutaneous malignancies and infections when immune function is limited, for example in patients with genetic and acquired immunodeficiency disorders and in those receiving immunosuppressive therapy after organ transplantationref1, ref2. The regulation of skin defence mechanisms is also crucial, as inappropriate or misdirected immune activity is implicated in the pathogenesis of a large variety of acquired inflammatory skin disorders, including psoriasisref, atopic dermatitisref1, ref2, ref3 and allergic contact dermatitis, lichen planusref, alopecia areataref, vitiligo and other vesicobullous diseasesref. The role of immune dysfunction in these conditions is emphasized by their response to immunosuppressive therapeutic interventionsref1, ref2, ref3, ref4. Human skin is composed of 3 distinct compartments relevant to its immune functions :
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