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J Invest Dermatol. 1999 Mar;112(3):322-5.

In vivo UVA-1 and UVB irradiation differentially perturbs the antigen-presenting function of human epidermal Langerhans cells.

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Department of Dermatology, University of Freiburg, Germany.


Ultraviolet B (UVB, 290-320 nm) radiation is known to suppress the immune function of epidermal Langerhans cells. We have recently described that in vitro UVB irradiation perturbs the antigen-presenting cell function of Langerhans cells by inhibiting their expression of functional B7 costimulatory molecules (B7-1, B7-2). The aim of this study was to determine wavelength-specific UV effects on Langerhans cells function in vivo, specifically UVB and UVA-1. To address this issue, volunteers were irradiated on the sun protected volar aspects of their forearms with 3 x minimal erythema dose of UVB (Philips TL-12) and UVA-1 (UVASUN 5000 Mutzhaas). Langerhans cells were isolated from suction blister roofs immediately following irradiation. Langerhans cells isolated from UVB- but not from UVA-1-irradiated skin failed to activate naïve resting allogeneic T cells (mixed epidermal cell leukocyte reaction) or primed tetanus toxoid reactive autologous T cells. Langerhans cells isolated from sham-irradiated or UVA-1-irradiated skin strongly upregulated B7-2 molecules during short-term tissue culture. By contrast, Langerhans cells from UVB-irradiated skin did not upregulate B7-2 molecules. Furthermore, exogenous stimulation of the B7 pathway by anti-CD28 stimulatory monoclonal antibodies restored the capacity of UVB-irradiated Langerhans cells to activate both alloreactive and tetanus toxoid-reactive T cells, implying suppressed antigen-presenting cell activities and perturbed B7 expression of Langerhans cells isolated from UVB-irradiated skin are related. Those studies demonstrate that in vivo UVB, but not UVA-1, interferes with the activation-dependent upregulation of B7 molecules on Langerhans cells, which in turn is of functional relevance for the perturbed antigen-presenting cell function of Langerhans cells within UVB- but not UVA-1-irradiated skin.

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