Exposure to Ultraviolet Radiation in the Modulation of Human Diseases

Prue H. Hart, Mary Norval, Scott N. Byrne, Lesley E. Rhodes

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

32 Citations (Scopus)


This review focuses primarily on the beneficial effects for human health of exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR). UVR stimulates anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive pathways in skin that modulate psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, and vitiligo; suppresses cutaneous lesions of graft-versus-host disease; and regulates some infection and vaccination outcomes. While polymorphic light eruption and the cutaneous photosensitivity of systemic lupus erythematosus are triggered by UVR, polymorphic light eruption also frequently benefits from UVR-induced immunomodulation. For systemic diseases such as multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, asthma, schizophrenia, autism, and cardiovascular disease, any positive consequences of UVR exposure are more speculative, but could occur through the actions of UVR-induced regulatory cells and mediators, including 1,25-dihydroxy vitamin D 3, interleukin-10, and nitric oxide. Reduced UVR exposure is a risk factor for the development of several inflammatory, allergic, and autoimmune conditions, including diseases initiated in early life. This suggests that UVR-induced molecules can regulate cell maturation in developing organs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-81
Number of pages27
JournalAnnual Review of Pathology: Mechanisms of Disease
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

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