Background: In addition to recreational tanning bed use, UV radiation exposures are sometimes sought to self-treat skin conditions. The ability of tanning bed radiation exposure to trigger toxic epidermal necrolysis has not been reported. Observations: A young woman attempted to treat a self-limiting drug hypersensitivity reaction via tanning bed radiation exposure, which resulted in a systemic toxic epidermal necrolysis-like reaction. Studies with cultured keratinocytes and an epithelial cell line reveal that UV-A radiation can synergize with other stimuli such as phorbol esters or interleukin 1 to produce large amounts of tumor necrosis factor, providing a potential mechanism for this exaggerated reaction. Conclusion: In addition to inducing photodamage and skin cancer, tanning bed radiation exposure can trigger a toxic epidermal necrolysis-like reaction, possibly via the exaggerated production of keratinocyte cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor.
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