The mechanisms by which erythemal UVB irradiation modulates systemic immune responses to antigens applied to non-irradiated sites are poorly understood. In this study, regulatory CD4+ T cells were identified in the skin-draining lymph nodes (SDLNs) of UVB-irradiated, but otherwise naive mice. A transgenic mouse strain (DO11.10) was utilized in which the majority of CD4+ T cells expressed the ovalbumin (OVA(323-339)) T-cell receptor. Thus,T-cell responses could be examined following erythemal UVB irradiation without further antigen sensitization. CD4+ T cells from the SDLNs of UVB-irradiated mice had significantly reduced capacity to respond to presentation of the OVA(323-339) peptide in vitro. Transfer of CD4+ T cells from the SDLNs of UVB-irradiated antigen-naive mice significantly reduced both OVA sensitization and contact hypersensitivity responses to an experimental hapten in the recipient mice. Depletion of CD4+ CD25+ cells abrogated this UVB-suppressive effect in the in vitro proliferation assay. There was also a significant increase in the proportion of CD4+ CD25+ Foxp3+ cells in the SDLNs of UVB-irradiated mice. The potential of these regulatory cells poised to regulate responses to incoming antigens at distant non-irradiated sites broadens the biological impact of UVB irradiation of skin on immunity.