Photoimmunology is contributing to our understanding of basic immunological mechanisms, especially the role of antigen presentation in the activation of immunosuppressive T cells subsets and the identity of T cells with immunosuppressive activity. Its importance for cutaneous carcinogenesis has been clearly established in animal models, and data generated in a few studies with human skin cancer patients suggest that UV-induced immune suppression may play a similar role in human skin cancer induction. It is clear that exposure of mice to UV radiation can have systemic effects on the immune system and can suppress the immune reaction against infectious agents, but the role of photoimmunology in the pathogenesis of human diseases other than skin cancer remains to be elucidated.

See also: Contact hypersensitivity; Skin, contribution to immunity; Suppressor T lymphocytes; Tumors, immunological escape of; Vitiligo.

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