Background: T lymphocytes are believed to play a role in the pathogenesis of psoriasis; > 80% of T lymphocytes that infiltrate psoriatic lesions express the surface glycoprotein cutaneous lymphocyte-associated antigen (CLA), compared with < 20% in the blood. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) B is an effective treatment for psoriasis.
Objectives: To compare the effects of UVB treatment of psoriasis on the expression of CLA and several other surface markers expressed by circulating T lymphocytes.
Methods: Peripheral blood mononuclear cells from psoriatic patients were stained for adhesion molecules and stimulated with streptococcal antigens before and once weekly during 3 weeks of UVB treatment.
Results: A marked and progressive decrease was observed during the treatment in expression of the CLA and the very late antigen-4alpha by T cells; this decrease correlated closely with clinical improvement (Psoriasis Area and Severity Index). T-cell expression of intercellular adhesion molecule-1 was not significantly affected during the treatment and no change was observed in the activation markers CD25 and CD69 or lymphocyte proliferation after stimulation with streptococcal antigens or superantigens.
Conclusions: UVB treatment is associated with a marked reduction in the expression of skin-homing molecules by circulating T cells. This may be relevant to the therapeutic effect of UVB in psoriasis.