Physiol. Res. 55: 317-323, 2006

Cytogenetic and Immunological Changes after Dermal Exposure to Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons and UV Radiation


1Institute of Pathological Physiology, 2Institute of Hygiene and Preventive Medicine, Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Medicine in Hradec Králové, 3Institute of Clinical Immunology and Allergology, 4Clinic of Dermal and Venereal Diseases, University Hospital in Hradec Králové, Czech Republic

Received March 23, 2005
Accepted June 30, 2005
On-line available August 5, 2005

Goeckerman’s therapy (GT), which combines exposure to coal tar (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons – PAHs) and UV radiation (UV) is often used as the first option for treatment of psoriasis. However, PAHs and UV represent mutagenic, carcinogenic and immunotoxic agents. Therefore GT can represent a health risk for the patients. The group under observation consisted of thirty patients undergoing GT. Before and after the treatment, blood samples were collected and chromosomal aberrations and selected immunological markers were determined. The relationships between chromosomal aberrations and immunological markers and the extent (duration) of exposure to GT were evaluated. The Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) score confirmed the high efficacy of GT. However, significantly elevated levels of chromosomal aberrations of peripheral lymphocytes were also found after the therapy (p<0.001). The levels of chromosomal abnormalities correlated to the extent and the total duration of exposure to PAHs (r = 0.682, p<0.01 and r = 0.605, p<0.05). After the therapy, significantly decreased levels of IgE, IgM isotypes of immunoglobulin,
α2-macroglobulin and transferrin together with β2-microglobulin were found. From the immunological markers listed above only the decreased level of α2-macroglobulin correlated to the extent of exposure to PAHs (r = -0.568, p<0.05). No correlation was found between chromosomal aberrations, significantly changed immunological markers and the duration of UV exposure. Our study revealed that GT has a significant impact on both genetic and immunological parameters of psoriatic patients. The results indicate that GT could increase genotoxic risk and modulates immunity of treated patients.

Key words
Psoriasis • UV-radiation • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons • Genotoxicity • Immunotoxicity

© 2006 by the Institute of Physiology, Czech Academy of Sciences