Dermatological Phototherapy: A Prime Example of Ultraviolet Radiation-Induced Immunointervention

  • J. Krutmann


Photoimmunology is a relatively new discipline of biomedical research which studies the effects of nonionizing electromagnetic radiation, in particular of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, on the immune system. Interest in photoimmunology originated from observations made in three different research fields: (1) photocarcinogenesis, (2) studies on the function of epidermal Langerhans cells, and (3) the increasing use of UV radiation for the treatment of skin diseases [13,20,37]. For dermatologic phototherapy, irradiation devices emitting either shortwave UV (UVB, 280–320 nm) or longwave UV (UVA, 320–400 nm) radiation are employed. Patients were originally treated with broadband UVB, broadband UVA, or combination regimens (UVA/UVB), but in recent years there has been a strong tendency towards the use of irradiation devices which allow exposure of human skin to selected emission spectra, e.g., 311—nm UVB (which uses long—wave UVB radiation 300 nm) [32] or high—dose UVA1 therapy (which selectively employs long—wave UVA radiation > 340 nm) [18]. In addition to phototherapy, photochemo— therapy is widely used for the treatment of skin diseases [26]. The most popular photochemotherapeutic modality combines the oral or topical application of psoralens with subsequent UVA irradiation (PUVA therapy).


Atopic Dermatitis Human Keratinocytes Localize Scleroderma PUVA Therapy Thymine Dimer 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1997

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  • J. Krutmann

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