Mechanisms Involved in Ultraviolet Light-Induced Immunosuppression

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      Ultraviolet light (UV) represents one of the most relevant environmental factors influencing humans, especially with regard to its hazardous health effects, which include premature skin aging, skin cancer, and exacerbation of infectious diseases. Several of these effects are mediated by the immunosuppressive properties of UV. UV can compromise the immune system in several ways, e.g., by affecting the function of antigen-presenting cells, inducing the release of cytokines, and modulating the expression of surface molecules. Recently a link between UV-induced immunosuppression and apoptosis was recognized. In the following, the basic mechanisms underlying UV-induced immunosuppression will be discussed.