Skin Barrier Function and Allergens

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Kristiane Aasen Engebretsen
  • Jacob Pontoppidan Thyssen

The skin is an important barrier protecting us from mechanical insults, microorganisms, chemicals and allergens, but, importantly, also reducing water loss. A common hallmark for many dermatoses is a compromised skin barrier function, and one could suspect an elevated risk of contact sensitization (CS) and allergy following increased penetration of potential allergens. However, the relationship between common dermatoses such as psoriasis, atopic dermatitis (AD) and irritant contact dermatitis (ICD) and the development of contact allergy (CA) is complex, and depends on immunologic responses and skin barrier status. Psoriasis has traditionally been regarded a Th1-dominated disease, but the discovery of Th17 cells and IL-17 provides new and interesting information regarding the pathogenesis of the disease. Research suggests an inverse relationship between psoriasis and CA, possibly due to increased levels of Th17 cells and its associated cytokines. As for AD, a positive association to CS has been established in epidemiological studies, but is still unresolved. Experimental studies show, however, an inverse relationship between AD and CS. The opposing and antagonistic influences of Th1 (CS) and Th2 (AD) have been proposed as an explanation. Finally, there is convincing evidence that exposure to irritants increases the risk of CS, and patients with ICD are, therefore, at great risk of developing CA. Skin irritation leads to the release of IL-1 and TNF-α, which affects the function of antigen-presenting cells and promotes their migration to local lymph nodes, thus increasing the probability of CS and ultimately the development of CA.

Original languageEnglish
Book seriesCurrent Problems in Dermatology
Pages (from-to)90-102
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2016

    Research areas

  • Allergens, Animals, Dermatitis, Allergic Contact, Dermatitis, Atopic, Dermatitis, Irritant, Epidermis, Humans, Psoriasis, Skin Physiological Phenomena, T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer, Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't, Review

ID: 171557887