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Nutrients. 2015 May 5;7(5):3219-39. doi: 10.3390/nu7053219.

Can skin exposure to sunlight prevent liver inflammation?

Author information

1
Telethon Kids Institute, University of Western Australia, 100 Roberts Rd, Subiaco, Western Australia 6008, Australia. shelley.gorman@telethonkids.org.au.
2
Telethon Kids Institute, University of Western Australia, 100 Roberts Rd, Subiaco, Western Australia 6008, Australia. lucinda.black@telethonkids.org.au.
3
Clinical and Experimental Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton, SO16 6YD, UK. M.Feelisch@soton.ac.uk.
4
Telethon Kids Institute, University of Western Australia, 100 Roberts Rd, Subiaco, Western Australia 6008, Australia. prue.hart@telethonkids.org.au.
5
University of Edinburgh, MRC Centre for Inflammation Research, Edinburgh, EH16 4TJ, UK. richard.weller@ed.ac.uk.

Abstract

Liver inflammation contributes towards the pathology of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Here we discuss how skin exposure to sunlight may suppress liver inflammation and the severity of NAFLD. Following exposure to sunlight-derived ultraviolet radiation (UVR), the skin releases anti-inflammatory mediators such as vitamin D and nitric oxide. Animal modeling studies suggest that exposure to UVR can prevent the development of NAFLD. Association studies also support a negative link between circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D and NAFLD incidence or severity. Clinical trials are in their infancy and are yet to demonstrate a clear beneficial effect of vitamin D supplementation. There are a number of potentially interdependent mechanisms whereby vitamin D could dampen liver inflammation, by inhibiting hepatocyte apoptosis and liver fibrosis, modulating the gut microbiome and through altered production and transport of bile acids. While there has been a focus on vitamin D, other mediators induced by sun exposure, such as nitric oxide may also play important roles in curtailing liver inflammation.

PMID:
25951129
PMCID:
PMC4446748
DOI:
10.3390/nu7053219
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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