Current Dermatology Reports

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 338–349 | Cite as

Immune and Inflammatory Reponses to Staphylococcus aureus Skin Infections

  • Qi Liu
  • Momina Mazhar
  • Lloyd S. MillerEmail author
Immunology (D Lee, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Immunology


Purpose of Review

There have been recent advances in our understanding of cutaneous immune responses to the important human skin pathogen, Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus). This review will highlight these insights into innate and adaptive immune mechanisms in host defense and cutaneous inflammation in response to S. aureus skin infections.

Recent Findings

Antimicrobial peptides, pattern recognition receptors, and inflammasome activation function in innate immunity as well as T cells and their effector cytokines play a key role in adaptive immunity against S. aureus skin infections. In addition, certain mechanisms by which S. aureus contributes to aberrant cutaneous inflammation, such as in flares of the inflammatory skin disease atopic dermatitis, have also been identified.


These cutaneous immune mechanisms could provide new targets for future vaccines and immune-based therapies to combat skin infections and cutaneous inflammation caused by S. aureus.


Staphylococcus aureus Antimicrobial peptides Toll-like receptors Inflammasome T cells Neutrophils 



This work was supported by grants R01AR073665 and R01AR069502 (to LSM) from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases of the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

L.S.M. has received grant support from MedImmune, Pfizer, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Moderna Therapeutics, and Boehringer Ingelheim, is a shareholder of Noveome Biotherapeutics, and is on the scientific advisory board for Integrated Biotherapeutics, which are all developing vaccines and therapeutics against S. aureus infections and inflammatory skin diseases.

Qi Liu and Momina Mazhar declare they have no conflicts of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of DermatologyJohns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious DiseasesJohns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryJohns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  4. 4.Department of Materials Science and EngineeringJohns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA

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