The effect of ultraviolet radiation on the pathogenesis of Candida albicans in mice

Yvonne Marie Denkins, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Ultraviolet (UV) radiation produces immunological alterations in both humans and animals that include a decrease in the delayed type hypersensitivity (DTH) response to complex antigens, and to the induction of the suppressor T cell pathway. Cell-mediated immunity of the type that is altered by UV radiation has been shown to be important in host resistance against microorganisms. My dissertation addresses questions concerning the effects of UV radiation on the pathogenesis of opportunistic fungal pathogens such as Candida albicans. The (DTH) response of C3H mice exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation before (afferent arm of DTH) or after (efferent arm of DTH) infection with Candida albicans was markedly and systemically suppressed. Although suppression of both the afferent and efferent phases of DTH were caused by similar wavebands within the ultraviolet region, the dose of UV radiation that suppressed the efferent arm of DTH was 10-fold higher than the dose that suppressed the afferent arm of the DTH reaction. The DTH response of C57BL/6 mice was also suppressed by UV radiation; however the suppression was accomplished by exposure to significantly lower doses UV radiation compared to C3H mice. In C57BL/6 mice, the dose of UV radiation that suppressed the afferent phase of DTH was 5-fold higher than the dose that suppressed the efferent phase. Exposure of C3H mice to UV radiation before sensitization induced splenic suppressor T cells that upon transfer to normal recipients, impaired the induction of DTH to Candida. In contrast, the suppression caused by UV irradiation of mice after sensitization was not transferable. Spleen cells from sensitized mice exhibited altered homing patterns in animals that were exposed to UV radiation shortly before receiving cells, suggesting that UV-induced suppression of the efferent arm of DTH could result from an alteration in the distribution of effector cells. UV radiation decreased the survival of Candida-infected mice; however, no correlation was found between suppression of the DTH response and the course of lethal infection. This suggested that DTH was not protective against lethal disease with this organism. UV radiation also changed the persistence of the organism in the internal organs. UV-irradiated, infected animals had increased numbers of Candida in their kidneys compared to non-irradiated mice. Sensitization prior to UV irradiation aided clearance of the organism from the kidneys of UV-irradiated mice. These data show that UV radiation suppresses cell-mediated immunity to Candida albicans in mice and increases mortality of Candida-infected mice. Moreover, the data suggest that an increase in environmental UV radiation could increase the severity of pathogenic infections.

Subject Area

Immunology|Cellular biology

Recommended Citation

Denkins, Yvonne Marie, "The effect of ultraviolet radiation on the pathogenesis of Candida albicans in mice" (1991). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9202413.