PerspectivePhysiology

Killer fat

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Science  02 Jan 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6217, pp. 26-27
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa4567

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Summary

The skin, the largest organ in the human body, plays a critical role as a barrier to pathogen entry into tissues. Its disruption can lead to invasive bacterial disease. When this does happen, many resident cells in the skin's dermal layers, including immune cells, limit bacterial colonization. The role of fat cells (adipocytes) in the skin's host defense function is only recently emerging. On page 67 in this issue, Zhang et al. (1) add to this view by showing that dermal adipocytes participate directly in innate immunity against Staphylococcus aureus (see the figure).