A single sub-erythematous exposure of solar-simulated radiation on the elicitation phase of contact hypersensitivity induces IL-10-producing T-regulatory cells in human skin

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Solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation has hazardous effects on human health that are, in part, associated with its immunosuppressive effects via the induction of interleukin (IL)-10 production. Although IL-10 is produced by both T helper type 2 (Th2) cells and T-regulatory type 1 (Tr1) cells, the relative contribution of either subset in UV radiation-induced immunosuppression has not been established. Here, we show that T cells isolated from non-treated allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) reactions, 48 h following nickel challenge and propagated for 7–10 days in the presence of IL-2, were mainly CD4+ and produced IL-10, but little interferon-γ. A single sub-erythematous solar-simulated radiation (SSR) prior to antigen challenge exposure resulted in a clinical attenuation of the intensity of ACD reactions which was associated with a significant increase in both the magnitude of IL-10 production by skin-infiltrating T cells and the frequency of IL-10-producing Tr1 cells. Skin-infiltrating T cells in SSR-exposed, as well as non-exposed, ACD reactions showed a perturbed T-cell receptor (TCR)-Vβ repertoire, without overexpression of a particular TCR-Vβ gene product, indicating the presence of high frequencies of nickel non-specific T cells in ACD reactions. These results show that a single sub-erythematous SSR induces immunosuppression via the cutaneous infiltration of IL-10-producing Tr1, and to a lesser extent, Th2 cells.

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