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Br J Dermatol. 2010 Aug;163(2):321-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2010.09767.x. Epub 2010 Mar 17.

Narrowband ultraviolet B treatment improves vitamin D balance and alters antimicrobial peptide expression in skin lesions of psoriasis and atopic dermatitis.

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Department of Dermatology, Tampere University Hospital, PO Box 2000, FIN-33531 Tampere, Finland.



Narrowband ultraviolet B (NB-UVB) is a routine treatment for psoriasis and atopic dermatitis (AD) but its effect on vitamin D balance is not well studied.


To examine whether NB-UVB treatment in winter improves vitamin D balance in psoriasis and AD, and to study the effects of NB-UVB on antimicrobial peptide and cytokine expression in the skin.


Eighteen adult patients with psoriasis, 18 with AD and 15 healthy subjects received a total of 15 NB-UVB exposures on the whole body, given three times a week. Serum calcidiol (25-hydroxyvitamin D) was measured by radioimmunoassay. Antimicrobial peptide and cytokine expression in skin lesions was examined by real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction.


At onset 16 (89%) patients with psoriasis, 17 (94%) patients with AD and eight (53%) healthy subjects had vitamin D insufficiency (calcidiol < 50 nmol L(-1)). NB-UVB treatment significantly increased (P < 0.001) serum calcidiol. The increase was 59.9 nmol L(-1) (95% confidence interval, CI 53.5-66.9) in psoriasis, 68.2 nmol L(-1) (95% CI 55.4-80.1) in AD and 90.7 nmol L(-1) (95% CI 63.8-123.4) in healthy subjects. Psoriasis Area and Severity Index and SCORAD improved significantly (P < 0.001) but no correlation to the increase of serum calcidiol was found. Cathelicidin and human beta-defensin 2 (HBD2) expression was high in skin lesions of psoriasis. After six NB-UVB treatments cathelicidin increased further while HBD2 expression decreased. A similar trend was observed in AD lesions. NB-UVB caused a marked but nonsignificant decrease of interleukin (IL)-1beta and IL-17 in psoriasis lesions.


The present study shows that in addition to a significant improvement of psoriasis and AD, NB-UVB treatment effectively corrects vitamin D insufficiency. It also increases cathelicidin and decreases HBD2 levels in healing skin lesions of psoriasis and AD. This effect might be mediated by improved vitamin D balance and the local cytokine network.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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