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J Immunol. 1994 Dec 1;153(11):5256-64.

CD11b+ macrophages that infiltrate human epidermis after in vivo ultraviolet exposure potently produce IL-10 and represent the major secretory source of epidermal IL-10 protein.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 48109-0530.


Because activated human macrophages can be potent sources of IL-10, and because immunosuppressive tolerance-inducing macrophages populate the skin after UV exposure, we determined whether IL-10 is induced after UV exposure of human skin and whether it is related to the immigrating macrophages. Keratomes were obtained from control skin or from skin obtained 72 h after a single exposure to four minimal erythemal doses of UVB. Quantitative reverse-transcriptase PCR on total RNA extracted immediately from skin keratomes showed that IL-10 mRNA was elevated in UV-exposed skin. Epidermal cell suspensions from non-UV-exposed keratomes (C-EC) and UV-exposed keratomes (UV-EC) were fractionated by sequential immunobead selection. IL-10 mRNA was reproducibly 200- to 400-fold higher in CD11b+ UV-EC (macrophages) relative to CD11b- UV-EC (keratinocytes). IL-10 mRNA was not detected in C-EC that contained the CD1a+ population (Langerhans cells) nor in CD1a- C-EC keratinocytes from normal skin. As determined by ELISA, CD11b+ UV-EC IL-10 cell-associated protein was fivefold higher than that of CD11b- UV-EC; this was confirmed by flow cytometric visualization of IL-10 protein in permeabilized cells. CD11b+ UV-EC macrophages secreted IL-10 protein into the supernatant at a level of 333 +/- 51 pg/10(6) cells, whereas UV-EC keratinocytes did not secrete detectable levels of IL-10 (n = 3), although UV did induce low levels of IL-10 mRNA and cell-associated protein in keratinocytes. Therefore, although human keratinocytes accumulate intracellular IL-10 after in vivo UV exposure, the most potent production and secretion of IL-10 in the epidermis seems to be that of UV-induced macrophages. Skin-infiltrating macrophage secretion of such a potent immunoregulatory cytokine may account for the delayed immunosuppressive environment of sunburned skin and the altered APC activity of the infiltrating macrophages.

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