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Photochem Photobiol Sci. 2014 Jun;13(6):840-52. doi: 10.1039/c4pp00051j.

How much sunlight is enough?

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  • 1Cellular Photoimmunology Group, Discipline of Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Australia.


Living on a sun-drenched planet has necessitated adaption to and protection from the harmful effects of solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation, particularly skin cancer. However, convincing epidemiological and recent empirical evidence also supports a protective effect of UV against a range of diseases including multiple sclerosis, asthma and cardiovascular disease. Despite years of research attention into the biological effects of sunlight exposure, we are still far from being able to fully answer the question: How much sunlight is enough? This is probably because the answer is dependent on many complex and interacting variables. Many talented researchers are focused on exploring whether UV-induced vitamin D explains some of these effects. This perspectives article proposes an alternative hypothesis, namely that targeting UV-induced immune suppression by affecting the activation of regulatory cells and molecules will be of therapeutic benefit.

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