Mechanisms of UV induced systemic immunosuppression: An essential role for interleukin-10

Jorge Mauricio Rivas, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


The recognition of the skin as an immunocompetent organ has focused attention on the complex interaction between ultraviolet radiation and the immune system. How UV-radiation, which hardly penetrates past the epidermis, induces systemic immune suppression is not entirely clear. We propose that suppressive cytokines, released by UV-irradiated keratinocytes, play a role in the induction of immune suppression. Injecting supernatants from UV-exposed murine keratinocytes into mice impairs their ability to mount a delayed-type hypersensitivity response against allogeneic histocompatibility antigens. We tested the hypothesis that the down regulation of the immune response by UV is precipitated by the release of IL-10 after keratinocytes are UV-irradiated. After UV exposure IL-10 mRNA was upregulated. Western analysis indicated immunoreactive IL-10 was secreted by UV-exposed keratinocytes. The addition of supernatants from UV-irradiated keratinocytes to Th1 clones diminished their IFN production, whereas the addition of supernatants from normal keratinocytes had no suppressive effect on IFN production. Furthermore, treating supernatants from UV-irradiated keratinocytes with anti-IL-10 antibodies blocked the induction of immune suppression. To determine if IL-10 was responsible for the immunosuppression seen after total-body UV irradiation, UV-exposed mice were treated with anti-IL-10 antibodies. Treating UV-irradiated mice with anti-IL-10 reversed the induction of immune suppression. These findings suggest that keratinocyte-derived IL-10 was mediating UV-induced suppression in vivo. We also tested the hypothesis that UV-induced suppressor cells are Th2 cells. Mice were injected with spleen cells from either normal or UV-exposed donor mice immunized with alloantigen. At the time of spleen cell infusion, the recipient mice were then resensitized. Spleen cells from UV-exposed mice suppressed DTH. Mice treated identically and injected with anti-IL-10 antibodies were able to generate a DTH response. Taken together these data suggest that the suppressor cells that are induced by UV radiation are Th2 cells which mediate their suppressive effect by release of IL-10.

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Recommended Citation

Rivas, Jorge Mauricio, "Mechanisms of UV induced systemic immunosuppression: An essential role for interleukin-10" (1993). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9333553.