Ultraviolet A irradiation of the eye activates a nitric oxide-dependent hypothalamo-pituitary pro-opiomelanocortin pathway and modulates the functions of Langerhans cells

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Abstract

Ultraviolet A (UV-A) radiation decreases Langerhans cells (LC) in the skin specifically at the site of exposure. Unexpectedly, UV-A irradiation of the eye has been found systemically downregulating epidermal LC in mice. Male C57BL/6j mice and an inducible type of nitric oxide synthase knockout mice (iNOS−/-) were used in this study. The eye or ear was locally exposed to UV-A after covering the remaining body surface with aluminum foil at a dose of 110 kJ/m2 using a sunlamp. Localized UV-A irradiation of the eye downregulated epidermal LC. The hypophysectomy strongly inhibited the UV-A-induced downregulation of LC. To elucidate the pathway by UV-A irradiation of the eye, the effect of a bilateral ciliary ganglionectomy and denervation of the optic nerves was examined. Optic nerve denervation strongly inhibited LC downregulation in response to localized irradiation of the eye. Furthermore, no LC downregulation in response to localized UV-A irradiation of the eye was observed in iNOS−/- mice. These results clearly indicate that a signal evoked by UV-A irradiation of the eye is transmitted in a nitric oxide-dependent manner through the optic nerves to the hypothalamo-pituitary pro-opiomelanocortin system.

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