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Effect of topical melatonin on ultraviolet radiation-induced suppression of Mantoux reactions in humans

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Melatonin, the central neurohormone in circadian rhythm pathways, is recognized to have a variety of immune-enhancing effects. It has previously been shown to reduce ultraviolet (UV) radiation-induced erythema in mice and in humans, but there are as yet no published studies on the effects of melatonin on UV-induced immunosuppression in humans. Methods:

We investigated the effects of topical melatonin on solar-simulated (ss) UV-induced suppression of Mantoux reactions in 16 healthy, Mantoux-positive volunteers. Melatonin (5%) and its vehicle were applied in a double-blinded manner to separate areas on the lower back, immediately after each of three consecutive daily ssUV exposures. Various sites on the back received either no irradiation or one of three-graded ssUV doses. Mantoux testing was performed at each site 24 h after the final irradiation, and assessed 72 h later using a reflectance erythema meter. In a separate group of 19 volunteers, the effect of melatonin on minimal erythema dose was assessed both visually and with an erythema meter. Results:

We found dose-responsive UV-induced suppression of the Mantoux response in the presence of both vehicle and melatonin; melatonin did not prevent UV-induced immunosuppression in this model. Melatonin was also found to have no effect on the minimal erythema dose. Conclusions:

Melatonin conferred no protection against immune suppression or sunburn when applied topically to human skin immediately after irradiation.
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Keywords: immunosuppression; mantoux; melatonin; ultraviolet radiation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Dermatology, Melanoma and Skin Cancer Research Institute, Sydney Cancer Centre, University of Sydney at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Camperdown, NSW, Australia

Publication date: 2006-10-01

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