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UVB-INDUCED IMMUNE SUPPRESSION AND INFECTION WITH SCHISTOSOMA MANSONI

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Abstract

Abstract— Irradiation with ultraviolet B (UVB, 290–320 nm) causes a systemic immunosuppression of cell-mediated immunity. The question of whether UV immunosuppression modulates the course of infectious diseases is important becauseUVB levels in sunlight are sufficient to predict significant UV-induced immunosuppression at most latitudes. We have investigated the effect of immunosuppressive doses of UVB on the disease caused by the helminth parasite Schistosoma mansoni. C57BL/6 mice were irradiated once or three times weekly over 60–80 days with UV from a bank of FS40 sunlamps. Each UV treatment consisted of an immunosuppressive UV dose, as determined by suppression of contact hypersensitivity to trinitrochlorobenzene, corresponding to about 15–30 min of noonday tropical sunlight exposure under ideal clear sky conditions. Cumulative UV doses were between 80 and 170 kJ/m2. Worm and egg burdens, liver granuloma diameters and liver fibrosis showed minimal changes(> 20%) compared with parameters in unirradiated animals. Ultraviolet irradiation (a total of 55 kJ/m2 administered in six treatments) did not impair the resistance to rechallenge conferred by vaccination with 60Co-irradiated cercariae. We have thus observed a dichotomy between UV immunosuppression and both disease and vaccination in this helminth infection, in contrast to the effects of UVB shown in other infectious diseases.

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