Microbiology

Skin bacteria boost immunity

    Microbes living in mammalian guts have an important role in intestinal immunity and it seems that those living on the skin are similarly crucial for tuning immune responses to skin pathogens.

    Yasmine Belkaid at the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Maryland, and her colleagues compared mice with microbes on their skin with germ-free mice raised in aseptic conditions. T cells, a subset of immune cells, produced fewer immune-stimulating molecules in germ-free animals than in control mice. When infected with a skin parasite, the germ-free mice developed a greater number of parasites per skin lesion than the controls, and also showed impaired T-cell responses. Populating the skin with a skin bacterium restored immunity to the germ-free animals.

    Science http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1225152 (2012)

    Additional information

    For a longer story on this research, see go.nature.com/8ahyc3

    Rights and permissions

    Reprints and Permissions

    About this article

    Cite this article

    Skin bacteria boost immunity. Nature 488, 8 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1038/488008c

    Download citation

    Comments

    By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.