Cell Immunol 2019 Apr 1. Epub 2019 Apr 1.
Institute for Glycomics, Griffith University Gold Coast Campus, Parklands Drive, Southport, QLD 4215, Australia.
Intravital 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.