Effects of UVR exposure on the gut microbiota of mice and humans

Simon Ghaly, Nadeem O. Kaakoush, Prue H. Hart

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Web of Science)


Many alterations to the skin microbiome by exposure to UV radiation (UVR) have been postulated and may contribute to the ability of UVR phototherapy to regulate skin inflammatory diseases. Very recently, an effect of sub-erythemal narrowband UVB radiation (311 nm) on the gut microbiome of healthy individuals was reported. The relative abundance of Firmicutes and Proteobacteria increased in faecal samples of those receiving three exposures to narrowband UVB radiation; the Bacteroidetes phyla were reduced by UVB. In mice chronically exposed to sub-erythemal broadband UVR, similar faecal changes in Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes have been reported. Murine studies have allowed a further dissection of the relative ability of UVR and dietary vitamin D to modulate the gut microbiome by analysis of relative bacterial abundance in mice with similar 25-hydroxy vitamin D levels obtained by UVR exposure or from their diet, respectively. The studies of mice recovering from colitis suggested that dietary vitamin D could stimulate greater faecal abundance of Rikenellaceae, whilst exposure to UVR was necessary for changes to the abundance of Lachnospiraceae and Desulfovibrionaceae. Both human and murine studies report that multiple exposures to sub-erythemal UVR can increase the diversity of the gut microbiome, which in turn may be beneficial to the health of the host.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-28
Number of pages9
JournalPhotochemical and Photobiological Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


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