In vitro irradiation with long wavelength ultraviolet light (UV-A), in clinically relevant dosages, of a natural killer cell line containing cell preparations from 17 control subjects reduced natural killer cell cytotoxicity with the cell line K562 as target. The spontaneous function of natural killer cells from 12 patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) correlated inversely with the one hour erythrocyte sedimentation rate, but not with glucocorticoid doses. After UV-A exposure, natural killer cells from patients with SLE exert either increased or decreased cytotoxicity, and the direction of change is inversely correlated with the spontaneous natural killer cell function.
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