We investigated the effects of ultraviolet A1 (UVA1) irradiation on spontaneous lupus erythematosus- (LE-) like skin lesions of MRL/lpr mice, using a disease prevention model. UVA1 irradiation significantly inhibited the development of LE-like skin lesions, without obvious changes of the disease including renal disease and serum antinuclear antibody levels. Besides the massive infiltration of mast cells in the LE-like skin lesions, in the nonlesional skins, more mast cells infiltrated in the UVA1-irradiated group compared with the nonirradiated group. Although apoptotic cells were remarkably seen in the dermis of UVA1-irradiated mice, those cells were hardly detectable in the dermis of the nonirradiated mice without skin lesions. Further analysis showed that some of those apoptotic cells were mast cells. Thus, UVA1 might exert its effects, at least in part, through the induction of the apoptosis of pathogenic mast cells. Our results supported the clinical efficacy of UVA1 irradiation for skin lesions of lupus patients
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