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Arch Dermatol Res. 2004 May;295(12):509-16. Epub 2004 Mar 16.

T cells in psoriatic lesional skin that survive conventional therapy with NB-UVB radiation display reduced IFN-gamma expression.

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Department of Dermatology, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Room L3-365, P.O. Box 22700, 1100 DE Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


The type 1 T cell-derived cytokine interferon gamma (IFN-gamma) is overexpressed in psoriatic lesional skin. Recently, we have shown that a single high erythemal dose of broad-band ultraviolet B (UVB) irradiation reduces type 1 and favors type 2, i.e. interleukin-4 (IL-4), cytokine expression in normal and psoriatic skin. In this study, we wanted to see whether conventional narrow-band UVB (NB-UVB) therapy (i.e. repeated exposure to nonerythemal doses) also affects type 1/type 2 cytokine expression of T cells present in chronic plaque type psoriatic lesions. Staining of cryostat sections showed decreased expression of both IFN-gamma and IL-4 in situ after NB-UVB therapy. CD4(+) dermal T cell lines, derived from psoriatic lesional skin, displayed significantly decreased intracellular IFN-gamma expression during and after NB-UVB therapy as compared to pretreatment values. Intracellular IL-4 expression was increased in most patients after therapy. Analysis of the supernatants of these stimulated dermal T cells revealed that IFN-gamma production decreased significantly following NB-UVB therapy, whereas IL-4 expression increased in the T cell supernatants from most patients, confirming the intracellular determinations. In addition, IL-10 and transforming growth factor-beta levels in the supernatants appeared to be increased in the majority of patients following UVB therapy. Apart from the well-known killing effect of UVB on T cells, our results show that the improvement in psoriatic skin following NB-UVB therapy is also due to a reduced capacity of the surviving dermal T cells to express the proinflammatory cytokine IFN-gamma.

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