Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) induces cell-surface Ro/SSA antigen expression by human keratinocytes in vitro: a possible mechanism for the UVR induction of cutaneous lupus lesions

Br J Dermatol. 1992 Jun;126(6):546-53. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.1992.tb00098.x.


Antinuclear antibodies are useful markers of connective tissue disease. In this study, UVB but not UVA induced the expression of Ro/SSA antigen on keratinocyte surfaces in vitro. This expression was also found with the extractable nuclear antigens RnP and Sm, but not with single or double-stranded DNA. The expression was prevented by blocking protein synthesis, suggesting that it was an active process. The results suggest that UVB exposure may result in the expression of Ro/SSA antigen on the surfaces of basal keratinocytes in vivo. This antigen could then bind circulating antibody leading to the cutaneous lesions in neonatal and subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus.

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Surface / radiation effects
  • Autoantigens / radiation effects*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Humans
  • Keratinocytes / immunology
  • Keratinocytes / radiation effects*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / etiology*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / immunology
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • RNA, Small Cytoplasmic*
  • Ribonucleoproteins / radiation effects*
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects*


  • Antigens, Surface
  • Autoantigens
  • RNA, Small Cytoplasmic
  • RO60 protein, human
  • Ribonucleoproteins
  • SS-A antigen