In the skin, complex cellular networks maintain barrier function and immune homeostasis. Tightly regulated multicellular cascades are required to initiate innate and adaptive immune responses. Innate immune cells, particularly DCs and mast cells, are central to these networks. Early studies evaluated the function of these cells in isolation, but recent studies clearly demonstrate that cutaneous DCs (dermal DCs and Langerhans cells) physically interact with neighboring cells and are receptive to activation signals from surrounding cells, such as mast cells. These interactions amplify immune activation. In this review, we discuss the known functions of cutaneous DC populations and mast cells and recent studies highlighting their roles within cellular networks that determine cutaneous immune responses.
Tina L. Sumpter, Stephen C. Balmert, Daniel H. Kaplan