CD4+ T cells in lymph nodes of UVB-irradiated mice suppress immune responses to new antigens both in vitro and in vivo

J Invest Dermatol. 2007 Apr;127(4):915-24. doi: 10.1038/sj.jid.5700600. Epub 2006 Oct 19.


The mechanisms by which erythemal UVB irradiation modulates systemic immune responses to antigens applied to non-irradiated sites are poorly understood. In this study, regulatory CD4+ T cells were identified in the skin-draining lymph nodes (SDLNs) of UVB-irradiated, but otherwise naive mice. A transgenic mouse strain (DO11.10) was utilized in which the majority of CD4+ T cells expressed the ovalbumin (OVA(323-339)) T-cell receptor. Thus, T-cell responses could be examined following erythemal UVB irradiation without further antigen sensitization. CD4+ T cells from the SDLNs of UVB-irradiated mice had significantly reduced capacity to respond to presentation of the OVA(323-339) peptide in vitro. Transfer of CD4+ T cells from the SDLNs of UVB-irradiated antigen-naive mice significantly reduced both OVA sensitization and contact hypersensitivity responses to an experimental hapten in the recipient mice. Depletion of CD4+CD25+ cells abrogated this UVB-suppressive effect in the in vitro proliferation assay. There was also a significant increase in the proportion of CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ cells in the SDLNs of UVB-irradiated mice. The potential of these regulatory cells poised to regulate responses to incoming antigens at distant non-irradiated sites broadens the biological impact of UVB irradiation of skin on immunity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibody Formation / physiology*
  • Antigens / immunology*
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / physiology*
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / radiation effects*
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dermatitis, Contact / prevention & control
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Immunization
  • Interleukin-2 Receptor alpha Subunit / metabolism
  • Lymph Nodes / cytology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Ovalbumin / genetics
  • Ovalbumin / immunology
  • Ovalbumin / metabolism
  • Peptide Fragments / genetics
  • Peptide Fragments / immunology
  • Peptide Fragments / metabolism
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / genetics
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / metabolism
  • Time Factors
  • Ultraviolet Rays*


  • Antigens
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • Foxp3 protein, mouse
  • Interleukin-2 Receptor alpha Subunit
  • OVA 323-339
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell
  • Ovalbumin