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The role of IL-22 and Th22 cells in human skin diseases

  • Hideki Fujita
    Correspondence
    Correspondence address: Department of Dermatology, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, Hongo 7-3-1, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8655, Japan. Tel.: +81 3 5800 8661; fax: +81 3 3814 1503.
    Affiliations
    Department of Dermatology, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
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      Abstract

      Interleukin (IL)-22 is a cytokine that is involved in the modulation of tissue responses during inflammation. It is produced by immune cell subsets such as T cells, while the expression of its receptor is restricted to cells of non-hematopoietic origin, particularly epithelial cells. In the skin, IL-22 induces keratinocyte proliferation and epidermal hyperplasia, inhibits terminal differentiation of keratinocytes, and promotes the production of antimicrobial proteins. Although IL-22 was initially thought to be produced by T helper (Th)17 cells, IL-22 production can also occur in an apparently unique subset of cells, Th22 cells, which lack the ability to produce IL-17 and interferon-γ. Of note, Th22 cells, which express the skin homing chemokine receptors CCR4 and CCR10, reside in the normal skin and are enriched in the lesional skin of inflammatory skin diseases, indicating the importance of IL-22 in skin homeostasis and pathogenesis of skin diseases. Although a critical role of IL-22 was initially highlighted in psoriasis, a growing body of evidence indicates that this cytokine also plays a role in atopic dermatitis and other inflammatory skin diseases. Moreover, emerging experimental data suggest that IL-22 also participates in the pathophysiology of malignancies of the skin. In this review, recent findings regarding the expression, regulation, and function of the IL-22 pathway in various human skin diseases will be discussed. Considering the strong association between excess activation of the IL-22/Th22 pathway and human skin diseases, targeting this pathway may provide promising new therapeutic approaches.

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      Biography

      Dr. Hideki Fujita graduated from the University of Tokyo and received his MD degree in 1999. Following his clinical training in dermatology, Dr. Fujita studied mouse Langerhans cells and received his PhD in Medical Science at the University of Tokyo in 2005. He studied immunology of human skin under the supervision of Professor James G. Krueger at The Rockefeller University in New York as a Senior Research Associate from 2008 to 2011. While there, he worked on the role of Langerhans cells and dermal dendritic cells in the pathogenesis of skin diseases such as psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, and squamous cell carcinoma. Since 2011, he has been a Lecturer of the Department of Dermatology, the University of Tokyo. His research interests include cutaneous dendritic cells, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, and cutaneous lymphoma.