Clinical efficacy of blue light full body irradiation as treatment option for severe atopic dermatitis

PLoS One. 2011;6(6):e20566. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0020566. Epub 2011 Jun 8.


Background: Therapy of atopic dermatitis (AD) relies on immunosuppression and/or UV irradiation. Here, we assessed clinical efficacy and histopathological alterations induced by blue light-treatment of AD within an observational, non-interventional study.

Methodology/principal findings: 36 patients with severe, chronic AD resisting long term disease control with local corticosteroids were included. Treatment consisted of one cycle of 5 consecutive blue light-irradiations (28.9 J/cm(2)). Patients were instructed to ask for treatment upon disease exacerbation despite interval therapy with topical corticosteroids. The majority of patients noted first improvements after 2-3 cycles. The EASI score was improved by 41% and 54% after 3 and 6 months, respectively (p≤0.005, and p≤0.002). Significant improvement of pruritus, sleep and life quality was noted especially after 6 months. Also, frequency and intensity of disease exacerbations and the usage of topical corticosteroids was reduced. Finally, immunohistochemistry of skin biopsies obtained at baseline and after 5 and 15 days revealed that, unlike UV light, blue light-treatment did not induce Langerhans cell or T cell depletion from skin.

Conclusions/significance: Blue light-irradiation may represent a suitable treatment option for AD providing long term control of disease. Future studies with larger patient cohorts within a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial are required to confirm this observation.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chronic Disease
  • Color
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / immunology
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / pathology
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / radiotherapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Light*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Quality of Life
  • Serologic Tests
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Whole-Body Irradiation / methods*
  • Young Adult