ULTRAVIOLET-B DOSE-RESPONSE CURVES FOR LOCAL AND SYSTEMIC IMMUNOSUPPRESSION ARE IDENTICAL

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Abstract

Abstract— –Irradiation of mice with UVB suppresses contact hypersensitivity either “locally”, i.e. when sensitizer is applied to the UV irradiated site, or “systemically”, i.e. when sensitizer is applied to a site distal to the site of irradiation. It has been suggested that local suppression requires lower doses of UV than does systemic suppression, and that different mechanisms are therefore responsible. We undertook a detailed analysis of the dose-response and kinetics of UV-induced local and systemic suppression of contact hypersensitivity to trinitrochlorobenzene in two strains of mice, C57BL/6 and BALB/c. We found that the UV dose-responses for systemic and local suppression were identical within the same strain. Comparison, however, of UV dose-responses between strains indicated that C57BL/6 mice required 6.4 times less UV than did BALB/c mice to generate an equivalent amount of suppression. In both strains, local suppression was initiated if sensitizer was applied immediately, or 1 or 3 days after completion of a single dose of UV. In contrast, systemic suppression was initiated only if sensitizer was applied 3 days after UV irradiation. Thus local suppression was generated in the absence of significant systemic suppression (but not vice versa), and this was dependent on time of application of sensitizer after UV irradiation, not on the dose of UV administered. Filtration of the UV source with Mylar indicated that UVB was responsible for initiating both local and systemic suppression. In summary, these results indicate that (1) genetically determined differences in susceptibility to UV suppression exist, (2) the time courses of generation of local and systemic suppression differ, and (3) the UV dose-responses for local and systemic suppression are identical, and therefore use of the terms “low dose” and “high dose” to refer respectively to local and systemic suppression by UV irradiation are incorrect. We conclude that a common mechanism initiates UV-induced local and systemic suppression of contact hypersensitivity by the immediate formation, at the site of UV irradiation, of an immunosuppressive signal which takes between 1 and 3 days to act systemically.

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