Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is the leading cause of skin and soft tissue infections in humans. Additionally, local infections further lead to dissemination and colonization of secondary infections sites including the lungs, heart valves and even medical prostheses. It is well known that this bacterial species is capable of altering host immune responses and that long-term protection against S. aureus is not completely effective. Antigen presenting cells represent key players in the implementation of these responses. Among these, dendritic cells (DCs) represent a wide variety of cell subsets that are heterogeneously distributed throughout the skin. As sentinels of the epithelial barrier, they are often the first cells in contact with pathogens and play a crucial role in the activation of specific T cell responses. In its planktonic form, the interactions between S. aureus and various DC cell subsets have been extensively studied in in vitro and ex vivo models. However,the tendency of bacteria to transition towards the biofilm lifestyle in the host suggest a necessity to study these interactions under in vivo conditions. Of note, mouse skin infection models provide a cheap and easy support to study the longitudinal responses of DCs through the use of fluorescence and intravital imaging. The development of models capable of comparing S. aureus planktonic and biofilm in vivo DC responses could prove essential in explaining the chronic nature of biofilms or the absence of an effective protective response. In this review, we highlight the different DC subsets found in the skin and their roles during S. aureus skin infections. We also address how this bacterium is capable of subverting these functions and review the known literature of existing mouse skin infection models that have and could potentially aid in the study of S. aureus planktonic or biofilm immune responses.
Dendritic cells, Staphylococcus aureus, Skin, Immunity, Biofilm, In vivo models