Chronic, nonhealing wounds remain a clinical challenge and a significant burden for the healthcare system. Skin-resident and infiltrating T cells that recognize pathogens, microbiota, or self-antigens participate in wound healing. A precise balance between proinflammatory T cells and regulatory T cells is required for the stages of wound repair to proceed efficiently. When diseases such as diabetes disrupt the skin microenvironment, T cell activation and function are altered, and wound repair is hindered. Recent studies have used cutting-edge technology to further define the cellular makeup of the skin prior to and during tissue repair. In this review, we discuss key advances that highlight mechanisms used by T cell subsets to populate the epidermis and dermis, maintain skin homeostasis, and regulate wound repair. Advances in our understanding of how skin cells communicate in the skin pave the way for therapeutics that modulate regulatory versus effector functions to improve nonhealing wound treatment.

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