The epidermis has a powerful innate immune system. Keratinocytes are immunologically active cells, able to identify and kill invading microbes. Keratinocytes recognize highly conserved structures of the pathogens, called pathogenassociated molecular patterns (PAMPs), via pattern recognition receptors (PRRs), which results in the secretion of antimicrobial and proinflammatory mediators. Antimicrobial peptides and proinflammatory chemokines/cytokines, effector molecules of innate immunity, also act as regulators of acquired immune responses, inflammation and wound repair. Keratinocyte-derived effector molecules are critical in the recruitment of dendritic cells, T cells and neutrophils into sites of infection, linking innate and acquired immune responses in the skin.
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