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UV light selectively inhibits spinal cord inflammation and demyelination in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis

Wang, Y;Marling, SJ;Beaver, EF;Severson, KS;Deluca, HF;

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic demyelinating disease of the central nervous system (CNS). The incidence of MS is inversely related to sun light exposure or ultraviolet radiation (UVR). UVR was found to suppress experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an animal model of MS, independent of vitamin D production. The mechanism of this suppression remains to be elucidated. To this end, several elements of an immune response in the spinal cord, spleen and skin during development of EAE were studied. As expected, UVR (10kJ/m(2)) inhibits inflammation and demyelination of the spinal cord. Most significant, UVR dramatically reduced spinal cord chemokine CCL5 mRNA and protein levels. UVR also suppressed IL-10 in skin and spleen but not the spinal cord. As expected from the UVR action on skin, macrophage population and IFN- levels are increased in that organ. UVR had no effect on lymphocyte proliferation and IFN- in spleen. From these measurements, we suggest that UVR suppression of EAE prevents the migration of inflammatory cells into the CNS by a focal inhibition of chemokine CCL-5 in the CNS and a systemic elevation of immunosuppressive IL-10.