DNA damage-induced Fas ligand expression by epidermal dendritic cells mediates UV-induced immune suppression of contact hypersensitivity

John L Langowski, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Exposure to UVB radiation induces local and systemic immune suppression, evidenced by inhibition of the contact hypersensitivity response (CHS). Epidermal dendritic cells, the primary antigen presenting cells responsible for the induction of CHS, are profoundly altered in phenotype and function by UVB exposure and possess UV-specific DNA damage upon migrating to skin-draining lymph nodes. Expression of the proapoptotic protein FasL has been demonstrated in both skin and lymph node cells following UVB exposure. Additionally, functional FasL expression has recently been demonstrated to be required in the phenomenon of UV-induced immune suppression. To test the hypothesis that FasL expression by DNA-damaged Langerhans cells migrating to the skin-draining lymph nodes is a crucial event in the generation of this phenomenon, mice were given a single 5KJ/m2 UV-B exposure and sensitized to 0.5% FITC through the exposed area. Dendritic cells (DC) harvested from skin-draining lymph nodes (DLN) 18 hours following sensitization by magnetic CD11c-conjugated microbeads expressed high levels of Iab, CD80 and CD86, DEC-205 and bore the FITC hapten, suggesting epidermal origin. Radioimmunoassay of UV-specific DNA damage showed that DC contained the vast majority of cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers (CPDs) found in the DLN after UVB and exhibited increased FasL mRNA expression, a result which correlated with greatly increased FasL-mediated cytotoxicity. The ability of DCs to transfer sensitization to naïve hosts was lost following UVB exposure, a phenomenon which required DC FasL expression, and was completely reversed by cutaneous DNA repair. Collectively, these results demonstrate the central importance of DNA damage-induced FasL expression on migrating dendritic cells in mediating UV-induced suppression of contact hypersensitivity.

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Recommended Citation

Langowski, John L, "DNA damage-induced Fas ligand expression by epidermal dendritic cells mediates UV-induced immune suppression of contact hypersensitivity" (2003). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3115908.