The aryl hydrocarbon receptor at the forefront of host-microbe interactions in the skin: A perspective on current knowledge gaps and directions for future research and therapeutic applications

Ellen H. van den Bogaard, Charlotte Esser, Gary H. Perdew

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The skin is home to a community of skin microbiota including bacteria, viruses and fungi, which are widely accepted to be of importance for skin homeostasis but also associated with skin diseases. Detailed knowledge on the skin microbiota composition and its changes in a number of skin diseases is available. Yet, specific interactions between microbes and the host skin cells or how they communicate with each other are less well understood. To identify, understand and eventually therapeutically exploit causal relationships of microbial dysbiosis with disease, studies are required that address the receptors and mediators involved in host-microbe interactions. In this perspective article, we provide an outlook on one of such receptors, namely the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR). The AHR is well known for being a ligand-activated transcription factor regulating the proliferation, differentiation and function of many cell types present in the skin. Its targeting by anti-inflammatory therapeutics such as coal tar and Tapinarof is effective in atopic dermatitis and psoriasis. AHR signalling is activated upon binding of wide variety of small chemicals or ligands, including microbiota-derived metabolites. New evidence has emerged pointing towards a key role for epidermal AHR signalling through skin microbiota-derived metabolites. In response, AHR-driven expression of antimicrobial peptides and stratum corneum formation may alter the skin microbiota composition. This a self-perpetuating feedback loop calls for novel therapeutic intervention strategies for which we herein discuss the requirements in future mechanistic studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1477-1483
Number of pages7
JournalExperimental Dermatology
Volume30
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology

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