Background: Because antigen presenting is necessary for T-cell activation, antigen-presenting cells should be involved in the pathogenesis of psoriasis. In this study, our purpose was to evaluate and compare effects of PUVA, cyclosporine A and narrow-band UVB on dendritic cells and activated lymphocytes in the psoriatic lesions. Methods: Forty-five volunteered patients (15 patients in each treatment group as PUVA, cyclosporin A and narrow-band UVB) were enrolled in this study. Lesional skin biopsies were taken from each patient before and after treatments. Fresh frozen biopsies were studied for the expressions of CD1a, CD68, CD86, CD4, CD8 and HLA-DR proteins by immunohistochemistry. Results: There was no correlation between severity of the lesions and expressions of the antigens. Only PUVA significantly decreased CD1a+ epidermal Langerhans cells' (LCs) counts. Treatment modalities decreased expression of costimulator CD86, and most of them decrease antigen-presenting capacity of skin by decreasing HLA class-II expression. Conclusions: All treatment modalities equally reduce lymphocytes, macrophages and dendritic cells. PUVA is the only treatment that decreases epidermal LCs. All treatments effectively diminish expression of CD86 and inhibit this step of inflammation. © Blackwell Munksgaard 2006.