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Critical Reviews™ in Immunology
Fator do impacto: 1.404 FI de cinco anos: 3.347 SJR: 0.706 SNIP: 0.55 CiteScore™: 2.19

ISSN Imprimir: 1040-8401
ISSN On-line: 2162-6472

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Critical Reviews™ in Immunology

DOI: 10.1615/CritRevImmunol.v21.i4.40
39 pages

Effects of Ultraviolet Exposure on the Immune System

Johan Garssen
Dept.of Biomedical Research,Numico Research,Wageningen; Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences,Utrecht University,Utrecht; National Institute of Public Health and Environment, Laboratory for Pathology and Immunobiology, Bilthoven, The Netherlands
Henk van Loveren
National Institute of Public Health and the Environment, Laboratory for Pathology and Immunobiology, Bilthoven, The Netherlands


Depletion of stratospheric ozone and changes in lifestyle lead to an increased exposure to ultraviolet (UV) wavebands, especially in the UVB region (280−320 nm). Besides the beneficial effects of UV exposure, such as vitamin D production, cosmetic tanning, and adaptation to solar UV, UV exposure can also have adverse consequences on human health, notably sunburn, skin cancer, and ocular damage. Over the last two and a half decades it has become evident that especially UVB exposure and to a lesser extent UVA modulates specific as well as nonspecific immune responses. Several reports have shown that this immunomodulation plays at least a partial role in the induction of skin cancer. In addition, UVB exposure has been demonstrated to impair resistance to some infections. On the other hand, immunomodulation resulting from UVB exposure might be physiologically important in inhibiting responses to neoantigens in the skin induced by UV exposure. In the last 20 years UV has been used frequently as an experimental tool to unravel immune responses—especially immune responses initiated in the skin (i.e., photoimmunology). In this review, the major mechanisms responsible for UV-induced immunomodulation and its consequences are summarized.

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