Defences mapped in time and space
Researchers at the Centenary Institute in Sydney have developed the first 3D model of the distribution of immune cells in living mammalian skin.
“It takes us from something like a paper map to Google Street View,” says the study’s lead author Dr Philip Tong.
“We knew all of these cells were there, but not how many of them and where. Now we can dive right in and we see that some types of immune cells are evenly distributed, while others clump in strategic locations.”
The resulting ‘Atlas’, recently posted online by the highly ranked Journal of Investigative Dermatology, provides the basis for understanding an immune response at a particular site of the skin. It helps explain how the same challenge—for example, injecting the same vaccine or drug—to different areas of the skin can generate a different immune response.