British Journal of Dermatology, September 2006, Vol.155(3), pp.600-607
In previous studies, distinct immunological abnormalities have been reported in localized scleroderma (LS). Several pro‐inflammatory cytokines have been demonstrated at increased levels in sera of patients with LS in parallel with disease activity. Human ‐defensins (hBDs) are peptides with antimicrobial activity, but have been also shown to be implicated in tissue injury, scarring and wound healing. hBD expression in LS, a condition resembling pathological scarring due to excessive stimulation of matrix synthesis and fibroblast activation, has so far not been investigated. Ultraviolet (UV) A1 phototherapy, the most recent advance in the treatment of LS, targets T‐cell dermal inflammatory infiltrates via induction of various cytokines and soluble factors besides well‐known effects on collagen metabolism. We sought to investigate the effects of UVA1 on the expression and modulation of hBDs and several pro‐inflammatory cytokines in LS. UVA1 phototherapy was performed five times weekly for 8 weeks resulting in a total of 40 treatment sessions (single dose 20 J cm, cumulative dose 800 J cm). hBD‐1, hBD‐2 and hBD‐3 mRNA as well as tumour necrosis factor‐, transforming growth factor‐, interleukin (IL) ‐2, IL‐4, IL‐6 and IL‐8 mRNA expression were determined by quantitative real‐time reverse transcription‐polymerase chain reaction in lesional and unaffected skin of patients with LS. Skin status markedly improved in all 14 patients, resulting in a significant reduction of the clinical score from baseline to the end of treatment. hBD‐1, hBD‐2 and hBD‐3 mRNA levels were higher in lesional skin compared with unaffected skin and skin from healthy volunteers. Following UVA1 phototherapy, hBD‐1 mRNA decreased in lesional, but not in unaffected skin. hBD‐3 mRNA levels significantly decreased after UVA1 in lesional skin, whereas an increase of hBD‐3 was observed in unaffected skin. IL‐6 and IL‐8 mRNA levels were significantly elevated in lesional skin and significantly decreased after UVA1 irradiation, whereas mRNA for both cytokines remained unchanged in irradiated unaffected skin. The decrease of hBD‐1, hBD‐3, IL‐6 and IL‐8 mRNA paralleled the extent of disease and response to UVA1 phototherapy. hBDs and IL‐6 and IL‐8, cytokines with pivotal importance in sclerotic skin diseases, are downregulated by UVA1 in the lesional skin of patients with LS. Their pathogenetic relevance with respect to clinical improvement needs further investigation.
Human Beta Defensins ; Interleukin‐6 ; Interleukin‐8 ; Localized Scleroderma ; Ultraviolet‐A1 Irradiation