In studies involving mice in which doses of UVA (320–400 nm) and UVB (290–320 nm) radiation were administered alone or combined sequentially, we observed a protective effect of UVA against UVB-induced erythema/edema and systemic suppression of contact hypersensitivity. The UVA immunoprotection was mediated by the induction of the stress enzyme heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) in the skin, protection of the cutaneous Th1 cytokines interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and IL-12 and inhibition of the UVB-induced expression of the Th2 cytokine IL-10. In this study, we seek evidence for an immunological waveband interaction when UVA and UVB are administered concurrently to hairless mice as occurs during sunlight exposure in humans. A series of spectra providing varying ratios of UVA/UVB were developed, with the UVA ratio increased to approximately 3.5 times the UVA component in solar simulated UV (SSUV). We report that progressively increasing the UVA component of the radiation while maintaining a constant UVB dose resulted in a reduction of both the erythema/edema reaction and the degree of systemic immunosuppression, as measured as contact hypersensitivity. The UVA-enhanced immunoprotection was abrogated in mice treated with a specific HO enzyme inhibitor. UVA-enhanced radiation also upregulated the expression of cutaneous IFN-γ and IL-12 and inhibited expression of both IL-6 and IL-10, compared with the activity of SSUV. The results were consistent with the previously characterized mechanisms of photoprotection by the UVA waveband alone and suggest that the UVA component of solar UV may have beneficial properties for humans.
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Vol. 82 • No. 2