Intravital imaging of skin infections
Highlights•This review identifies the key studies that explored the dynamics of immune responses in the skin using intravital imaging techniques.•Viral, bacterial and parasitic models of skin infection are discussed, and seminal findings that paved the way for further work are discussed.•The significance of the outcomes of these studies, and their impact on our understanding of how cutaneous immune responses to infections unfold, is also discussed.AbstractIntravital imaging of cutaneous immune responses has revealed intricate links between the skin’s structural properties, the immune cells that reside therein, and the carefully orchestrated migratory dynamics that enable rapid sensing and subsequent elimination of skin pathogens. In particular, the development of 2-photon intravital microscopy (2P-IVM), which enables the excitation of fluorescent molecules within deep tissue with minimal light scattering and tissue damage, has proven an invaluable tool in the characterization of different cell subset’s roles in skin infection. The ability to visualize cells, tissue structures, pathogens and track migratory dynamics at designated times following infection, or during inflammatory responses has been crucial in defining how immune responses in the skin are coordinated, either locally or in concert with circulating immune cells. Skin pathogens affect millions of people worldwide, and skin infections leading to cutaneous pathology have a considerable impact on the quality of life and longevity of people affected. In contrast, pathogens that infect the skin to later cause systemic illness, such as malaria parasites and a variety of arthropod-borne viruses, or infection in distant anatomical sites are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Here, we review recent advances and seminal studies that employed intravital imaging to characterize key immune response mechanisms in the context of viral, bacterial and parasitic skin infections, and provide insights on skin pathogens of global significance that would benefit from such investigative approaches.
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