Effect of psoralens and ultraviolet radiation on murine dendritic epidermal cells

Joseph Alcalay, Corazon Bucana, Margaret L. Kripke

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10 Scopus citations


Monofunctional psoralens produce less phototoxicity than bifunctional psoralens after ultraviolet A (UVA) irradiation. We investigated the effect of repetitive treatments with angelicin (isopsoralen), a monofunctional psoralen, plus UVA radiation (IPUVA) on the number and morphology of dendritic epidermal cells (dEC). This effect was compared with that of 8-methoxypsoralen plus UVA radiation (PUVA), UVA alone, and UVB radiation. C3H/HeN mice were treated topically with the drugs three times/wk for 4 consecutive wk; followed each time by 1 or 2.5 J/cm2 of UVA radiation. Other groups of mice were treated with the drugs alone, UVA alone, or 0.81 J/cm2 of UVB. Epidermal sheets were stained for ATPase, Ia, and Thy-1 markers. Mice treated with PUVA and UVB exhibited severe phototoxicity, whereas no overt phototoxicity was observed in mice treated with IPUVA, UVA alone, or the drugs alone. Early during the PUVA and UVA treatments the ATPase marker was lost from dEC, followed by loss of the Ia marker; the Ia marker was lost before the ATPase marker from dEC in animals treated with IPUVA. At the end of the treatment, however, nearly total depletion of ATPase+, Ia+, and Thy-1+ dEC was observed in mice treated with PUVA and IPUVA. UVB radiation caused rapid depletion of Thy-1+ dEC as well as ATPase+ and Ia+ cells. During treatments with IPUVA, PUVA, UVA, and UVB, the Langerhans cells became rounded and lost their dendrites. These changes were quantitated by image analysis. We conclude that alterations of cutaneous immune cells can occur in the absence of overt phototoxicity, and that monofunctional and bifunctional psoralens plus low dose of UVA radiation may have different effects on dEC markers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)657-662
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1989
Externally publishedYes


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