The skin continuously serves as a biosensor of multiple exogenous stressors and integrates the resulting responses with an individual's central and peripheral endogenous response systems to perceived stress; it also acts to protect against external challenges such as wounding and infection. We have previously shown in mice that stress induces nerve growth factor-and substance P-dependent neurogenic inflammation, which includes the prominent clustering of MHC class II+ cells. Because the contribution of dendritic cells (DCs) in response to stress is not well understood, we examined the role of DCs in neurogenic inflammation in murine skin using a well-established murine stress model. We show that sound stress increases the number of intradermal langerin+ and CD11c+ DCs and induces DC maturation, as indicated by the up-regulated expression of CD11c, MHC class II, and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1). Blocking of ICAM-1/leukocyte function-associated antigen-1 interactions significantly abrogated the stress-induced numeric increase, maturation, and migration of dermal DCs in vivo and also reduced stress-induced keratinocyte apoptosis and endothelial cell expression of ICAM-1. In conclusion, stress exposure causes a state of immune alertness in the skin. Such adaptation processes may ensure protection from possible infections on wounding by stressors, such as attack by predators. However, present-day stressors have changed and such adaptations appear redundant and may overrun skin homeostasis by inducing immune dermatoses. Copyright © American Society for Investigative Pathology.