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J Invest Dermatol. 1995 Aug;105(2):264-8.

A monoclonal antibody to cis-urocanic acid prevents the ultraviolet-induced changes in Langerhans cells and delayed hypersensitivity responses in mice, although not preventing dendritic cell accumulation in lymph nodes draining the site of irradiation and contact hypersensitivity responses.

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  • 1Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Edinburgh Medical School, U.K.


Ultraviolet B (UVB) irradiation of C3H mice causes suppression of delayed hypersensitivity and contact hypersensitivity (CH) to antigens encountered following exposure, and is accompanied by a reduction in Langerhans cell (LC) numbers in the epidermis, loss of epidermal antigen-presenting cell function, and accumulation of dendritic cells in lymph nodes draining the site of irradiation. Various photoreceptors and mediators of these changes have been proposed, one of which is cis-urocanic acid (cis-UCA) formed from the naturally occurring trans-UCA in the epidermis on UV irradiation. A monoclonal antibody that reacts with cis-UCA has become available recently and has been used in this study to clarify the role of UCA. Pretreatment of C3H mice with the monoclonal antibody abrogated the UVB-induced and cis-UCA-induced reduction in epidermal LC numbers. It also prevented the UV-induced suppression of epidermal antigen-presenting cell ability as measured by the mixed skin lymphocyte response. However, it had no effect on the accumulation of dendritic cells in lymph nodes draining the site of UV exposure. With regard to hypersensitivity responses, it did not prevent UV-induced suppression of CH to oxazolone at a range of concentrations but it restored to normal the UV-suppressed delayed hypersensitivity to herpes simplex virus, if administered before exposure. Thus cis-UCA is involved in some UV-induced changes in murine skin but not in others, where alternative mediators, such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha, may be more important.

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