Interleukin (IL)-15 is a recently described cytokine that shares many functional activities with IL-2; however, unlike IL-2, IL-15 is produced by monocytes/macrophages, and not by lymphocytes. In this report, we assessed IL-15 mRNA expression by freshly isolated human epidermal cells, as well as by negatively selected keratinocytes and positively selected Langerhans cells, utilizing reverse transcription and polymerase chain reaction. In addition, cultured keratinocytes, immortalized keratinocytes (HaCaT cells), and dendritic cells expanded from adult peripheral blood in the presence of granulocyte/macrophage-colony stimulating factor and IL-4 were examined for IL-15 transcripts. Using cultured keratinocytes, we also studied the regulation of IL-15 mRNA expression by ultraviolet B radiation in vitro. Freshly isolated keratinocytes, HaCaT cells, and cultured keratinocytes all constitutively expressed IL-15 mRNA, and IL-15 expression was downregulated by ultraviolet B radiation in cultured keratinocytes in a time- and dose-dependent manner. In addition, IL-15 transcripts were constitutively expressed by freshly isolated Langerhans cells. IL-15 produced by keratinocytes, Langerhans cells, and other tissue-specific dendritic cells may be important in attracting and activating antigen-specific Th1 T cells. Furthermore, ultraviolet B-induced downregulation of keratinocyte IL-15 production may contribute to the relative state of immunosuppression induced by sun exposure.