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Natural Skin Barriers

Disruption of the skin by acne inflammation, infection, solar damage, disease, injury due to trauma, surgery, skin burns, accidents, or by chemical, dermabrasion or laser procedures employed for skin rejuvenation, creates a signal to the natural immune system and starts responses that may or may not be effective in a) avoiding an impending invasion from surrounding microbes and b) in starting the regeneration of new healthy cells to replace those damaged.
Dermal defense mechanisms by antimicrobial peptides
Braff MH , Bardan A , Nizet V , Gallo RL . Department of Medicine, University of California San Diego, and VA San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, California, USA.
Anti-microbial peptides are mainly minuscule cationic polypeptides that are classified together due to their ability to impede the multiplication of microbes.
As effectors of natural immunity, antimicrobial peptides quickly kill a wide spectrum of bacteria, fungi, and viruses. In addition, these peptides change the local inflammatory response and start systems of cellular and adaptive immunity. Cathelicidins and defensins include the most important families of antimicrobial peptides in the dermis, although other dermal peptides, like proteinase inhibitors, chemokines, and neuropeptides also express antimicrobial activity.
Together, these useful antimicrobial peptides have a vital role in dermal immune defense and disease pathogenesis.
Antimicrobial Peptides in the Skin: Biological Importance
Antimicrobial peptides, which are synthesized in the skin at sites of potential microbial entry, supply a soluble barrier that acts as an impediment to infection. In the case of infection or trauma, antimicrobial peptide presence in the skin is upregulated due to increased synthesis by keratinocytes and accumulation from degranulation of recruited neutrophils. Although antimicrobial peptides certainly demonstrate in vitro antimicrobial action, studies have revealed that several such peptides, including cathelicidins and defensins, are inactivated by physiological salt concentrations (Goldman et al, 1997).
In fact, a recent study has revealed that mammalian skin has a basic antimicrobial-enhancing factor that renders bacteria labile to cathelicidin in vitro, despite the addition of physiological salt and serum (Dorschner et al, 2004). The in vivo relevance of antimicrobial peptides in the physiological environment is further accentuated by the laboratory animal models and human dermal ailments.
Natural immune defense function is greatly enhanced by a soluble antimicrobial peptide barrier that is started when physical barriers fail to block microbial entry.
The skin not only acts as a mechanical barrier against microbes, it also makes peptides which tend to display broad-spectrum antimicrobial action. The skin also makes growth factors, inhibitors of tumors and proteins. Following skin damage or wounds, growth factors are secreted to promote the rejuvenation of tissue and to induce the synthesis of antimicrobial peptides. The growth factor response stops after regeneration of the tissue, when the physical barrier protecting against microbial invasions is re-established.
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