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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2013, Article ID 942375, 15 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/942375
Review Article

Role of Macrophages in the Pathogenesis of Atopic Dermatitis

1Global Preclinical Drug Discovery, Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Grünenthal GmbH, Zieglerstrße 6, 52078 Aachen, Germany
2Division of Immunodermatology and Allergy Research, Department of Dermatology and Allergy, Hannover Medical School, 30625 Hannover, Germany

Received 15 October 2012; Revised 17 January 2013; Accepted 18 January 2013

Academic Editor: Chiou-Feng Lin

Copyright © 2013 Sadaf Kasraie and Thomas Werfel. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Atopic dermatitis (AD) is one of the most common and most intensively studied chronic inflammatory skin diseases. Several cofactors, such as an impaired skin barrier function, modifications of the immune system, and a complex genetic background, direct the course of AD. Within this complex network, macrophages play a pivotal role in enhanced susceptibility to cutaneous infections and act as central connecting components in the pathogenesis of AD on the cellular level. In AD, macrophages are known to accumulate in acutely and chronically inflamed skin. During the early and short inflammatory phase, macrophages exert proinflammatory functions like antigen-presenting phagocytosis and the production of inflammatory cytokines and growth factors that facilitate the resolution of inflammation. However, persistence of pro-inflammatory activity and altered function of macrophages result in the development of chronic inflammatory diseases such as AD. The exact mechanism of macrophages activation in these processes is not yet completely understood. Further studies should be performed to clarify the dysregulated mechanism of macrophages activation in AD, and this would allow us to target these cells with versatile functions for therapeutic purpose and improve and control the disease. In this paper, we highlight the new findings on dysregulated function of macrophages and the importance of these cells in the pathogenesis of AD in general and the contribution of these cells in enhanced susceptibility against microbial infections in particular.