It is well known that Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) proliferates on the moist skin lesion of atopic dermatitis. Reduction of bacteria colonization from skin lesions by antibiotics has been reported to be effective for the treatment of atopic dermatitis. S. aureus produces superantigens which can activate T cells and possibly enhance the inflammatory reaction. Photo(chemo)therapy has been successfully used for the treatment of severe cases of atopic dermatitis. We have previously reported that photo(chemo)therapy had bacteriostatic effect on S. aureus. Now we examined the effect of UVB and psoralen plus UVA (PUVA) on superantigen production from S. aureus. We isolated S. aureus from six atopic dermatitis patients. S. aureus was irradiated in vitro with UVB (0, 5, 10 mJ/cm2) or PUVA (0.001% psoralen plus 0, 5, 10 mJ/cm2 UVA) and incubated 4 h with 100 strokes per min. After incubation, the amounts of superantigens in the supernatant were measured using ELISA kit. The production of superantigens decreased in an ultraviolet dose-dependent manner. The suppressive effects of UV radiation on superantigen production may be involved in the therapeutic efficacy of photo(chemo)therapy for atopic dermatitis.
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