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February 2000

Acrosclerosis in Patients With Systemic Sclerosis Responds to Low-Dose UV-A1 Phototherapy

Arch Dermatol. 2000;136(2):275-276. doi:

Systemic sclerosis (SS) is a life-threatening disease that affects the connective tissue of various organs, including the skin. It is characterized by alteration of the microvasculature and by massive deposition of collagen. Such changes are believed to be the result of the inappropriate activation of dermal fibroblasts by soluble mediators produced by infiltrating T lymphocytes.1,2 Numerous treatments, some with potentially hazardous adverse effects (eg, immunosuppressive agents) are currently used with only limited success. Recently, we and other study groups reported the successful treatment of patients with severe localized scleroderma by long-wave (340- to 400-nm) UV-A1 phototherapy.3,4 Because long-wave UV-A irradiation has been shown both to induce apoptosis even in dermal T lymphocytes5 and to up-regulate intensively collagenase activity in human dermal fibroblasts,6 we hypothesized that UV-A1 irradiation could also improve acrosclerosis in patients with progressive SS.