Ultraviolet radiation can inhibit immune responses locally as well as systemically. Such effects have been measured in animals and humans exposed to ultraviolet B (wavelength 280–315 nm) (UVB) and ultraviolet A (315–400 nm) (UVA). The precise wavelength dependence is important for the identification of possible molecular targets and for assessments of risk of different artificial UV sources and solar UV. In such analyses, it is commonly assumed that radiation energy from each wavelength contributes to the effect independent of the other wavelengths. Here we show that this assumption does not hold good. In the present study, it was investigated whether exposure to broadband UVA or longwave ultraviolet A 1 (340–400 nm) (UVA 1) prior to the standard immunosuppressive UVB protocol might modulate the immunosuppressive effects induced by UVB. Preexposure to broadband UVA or longwave UVA 1, 1 day prior to the standard immunosuppressive UVB protocol, inhibited the UVB-induced suppression of delayed type hypersensitivity (DTH) to Listeria monocytogenes significantly. This effect was not associated with restoring the number of interleukin (IL-12)–positive cells in the spleen. Since isomerization of trans-urocanic acid (UCA) into the immunosuppressive cis-UCA isomer plays a crucial role in UVB-induced immunomodulation, in a second set of experiments it was investigated whether immunosuppression induced by cis-UCA might also be downregulated by preexposure to UVA. Animals were exposed to broadband UVA or longwave UVA 1 prior to application of an immunosuppressive dose of cis- or trans-UCA as a control. Both UVA and UVA 1 appear to inhibit the cis-UCA–induced systemic immunosuppression (DTH and IL-12) to L. monocytogenes. These studies clearly show that UVA radiation modulates both UVB and cis-UCA–induced immunomodulation. In general, our studies indicate that both broadband UVA and longwave UVA 1 could induce modulation of UVB and cis-UCA–induced immunomodulation. As sunlight contains both UVA and UVB radiation the balance between these two radiations apparently determines the net immunomodulatory effect.
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Vol. 73 • No. 4