Send to

Choose Destination
J Invest Dermatol. 2010 Jan;130(1):49-54. doi: 10.1038/jid.2009.217.

The dark and the sunny sides of UVR-induced immunosuppression: photoimmunology revisited.

Author information

Department of Dermatology, University Kiel, Kiel, Germany.


Immunosuppression induced by solar UVR is regarded as one of the major negative impacts of sunlight on human health. Despite this immunosuppression, bacterial superinfections are rarely observed after UVR exposure. A possible explanation for this seeming paradox may be that although it suppresses T-cell-mediated immune reactions, UVR induces the release of cutaneous antimicrobial peptides--an essential component of the innate immune system. The "sunshine vitamin," vitamin D, also appears to be involved, as UVR suppresses the adaptive but induces the innate immune response. T cells in the skin are the critical cellular mediators of the vast majority of inflammatory dermatoses, and thus probably more harmful than beneficial. Hence, it is tempting to speculate that a certain and constant level of immunosuppression by physiological UVR doses might be beneficial, taming overshooting immune reactions. At the same time, by inducing antimicrobial peptides, these low UVR doses may foster the antibacterial defense. Thus, suppression of the adaptive and induction of the innate immune system by UVR may be components of a physiological protection process. These insights might have effect on the future recommendations for daily sun protection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center