IgM Plasma Cells Reside in Healthy Skin and Accumulate with Chronic Inflammation

R. Paul Wilson, Shannon E. McGettigan, Van Duc Dang, Anil Kumar, Michael P. Cancro, Neda Nikbakht, William Stohl, Gudrun F. Debes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Antibodies are key to cutaneous host defense and inflammation. Despite their importance, the mechanisms by which skin antibodies are sustained are poorly described. Here, we identified that, in addition to antibody production in lymphoid tissues, plasma cells reside in healthy mouse and human skin. In naïve mice, IgM was the predominant isotype produced in skin. Skin plasma cells developed independently of T cells and microbiota. Importantly, chronic skin inflammation promoted the massive accumulation of IgM-secreting cells, and cutaneous immunization directed both T cell–dependent and –independent antigen-specific IgM-secreting cells into skin. Unlike their counterparts in lymphoid tissues, cutaneous IgM-secreting cells were completely dependent on survival factors such as a proliferation-inducing ligand or B cell–activating factor, which were constitutively expressed and upregulated during inflammation in skin. Our data support a model in which skin plasma cells supply natural and adaptive IgM to the cutaneous environment, thereby supporting homeostatic skin barrier functions and providing defense against pathogen intrusion. Our results are also of potential relevance for manipulation of cutaneous plasma cells in inflammatory skin diseases or cutaneous plasma cell malignancies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2477-2487
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology
  • Cell Biology


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