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Title: Characterisation of tight junctions in polymorphic light eruption
Author: Pond, Emma
ISNI:       0000 0004 5922 7808
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2016
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Polymorphic light eruption (PLE) is the most common photodermatosis, affecting ~17% of the population. PLE is a delayed-type hypersensitivity response to an antigen induced by solar ultra-violet radiation (UVR). Its effects vary between patients, but the main symptom is a non-scarring, red papular rash in areas exposed to UVR. An effective therapy is low dose ultra-violet B (NBUVB) phototherapy. It is thought that NBUVB phototherapy desensitises the skin to further UVR exposure, but the mechanism by which this happens is unknown. Current immune based studies have been unable to clarify a mechanism as to how PLE arises. However, research in other skin diseases, such as psoriasis and atopic dermatitis, has shown that the barrier function of the skin is compromised by these disorders. Furthermore, research in lesional PLE skin showed an increase in barrier permeability of the skin. Recent research has specifically linked claudin proteins of tight junctions to the barrier dysfunction. Therefore, this study used quantitative immunofluorescent staining to measure tight junction (TJ) proteins and other barrier proteins of interest. Barrier function was also measured by transepidermal water loss (TEWL); a tracer dye penetration assay was used to measure TJ barrier function specifically. All measurements were made in non-lesional PLE skin, as compared to skin from healthy human volunteers. In photoprotected PLE skin the TJ protein claudin-1 was significantly reduced compared to healthy skin. The use of a tracer dye highlighted there was a reduction in TJ barrier function in PLE skin compared to healthy individuals. PLE and healthy skin were then exposed to ultra-violet B (UVB) and 24h later TJ proteins and TJ barrier function were measured. There was no change to claudin-1 after UVB exposure in PLE skin, but claudin-7 was reduced and claudin-12 increased. In contrast, in UVB-irradiated skin in normal controls after UVB exposure claudin-7 and claudin-12 were both increased, whilst claudin-1 was reduced. In PLE patients there was no further change to TJ barrier function, however, in normal controls, skin TJ barrier function was reduced post UVB. Both in healthy and PLE skin TEWL was unchanged before and after UVB exposure. Lastly TJ proteins were investigated after NBUVB in PLE patients. There was a further reduction in claudin-1 in PLE patients as well as a reduction in the TJ protein occludin, however the stratum corneum was significantly thickened. It could be suggested that this is a compensatory measure for the reduction seen in TJ barrier proteins, however further studies are needed to understand this. These data show significant differences in the TJ skin barrier in patients with PLE as compared to healthy human volunteers before and after UVB exposure. Furthermore, in PLE skin there is a significant change to the epidermis after NBUVB phototherapy. These data demonstrate that TJ protein expression and function is altered in PLE skin and may contribute to aetiology of the disorder, however the role of TJ barrier in aetiology is yet to be firmly established.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Dermatology ; Photobiology ; Photodermatosis ; Tight Junction ; Claudin ; Occludin ; Polymorphic Light Eruption ; Skin Barrier