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J Photochem Photobiol B. 2001 Oct;63(1-3):132-40.

Immune regulation by polysaccharides: implications for skin cancer.

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The University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Department of Immunology-178, 1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


UV radiation causes sunburn, premature aging of the skin and is the major environmental carcinogen for squamous cell and basal cell skin cancer in humans. Besides causing mutations in DNA, UV radiation contributes to carcinogenesis by suppressing immune responses to highly antigenic, newly arising neoplasms. Strategies aimed at preventing UV-induced immune suppression, the mechanism of action of the agents used, and the significance of immune protection for prevention of skin cancer are reviewed. This review focuses on the use of plant polysaccharides to prevent immune damage triggered by UV radiation, an approach that goes beyond absorption of UV radiation by sunscreens as a means of reducing tissue damage. The efficacy and mechanism of action of these agents in preserving T cell-mediated immunity to model antigens in human beings and in laboratory animals are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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