Send to

Choose Destination
Exp Dermatol. 2014 Jun;23(6):391-2. doi: 10.1111/exd.12386.

Shedding new light on the role of the sunshine vitamin D for skin health: the lncRNA-skin cancer connection.

Author information

Section of Endocrinology, Nutrition, and Diabetes, Department of Medicine, Vitamin D, Skin and Bone Research Laboratory, Boston University Medical Center, Boston, MA, USA.


Throughout evolution, vertebrates including humans have depended on the sunshine vitamin D for their calcified skeletons. As our hunter gatherer forefathers ventured from the equator, their skin tone became much lighter in order to permit an adequate amount of ultraviolet B radiation to enter the skin to produce the vitally important vitamin D. Although sensible sun exposure does not significantly increase risk of skin cancer, it has remained a mystery as to why. Jiang and Bikle in their viewpoint provide a novel insight as to how Mother Nature was able to balance the need for receiving adequate sun exposure to produce vitamin D while limiting damage caused by the DNA absorbing the ultraviolet B radiation. Long non-coding RNAs which are plentiful in cells have a dual personality. Some enhance malignancy, while others act as tumor suppressors. Jiang and Bikle provide compelling evidence that these long non-coding RNAs in skin cells are responsive to 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 by decreasing their carcinogenic activity while enhancing their tumor suppression function presumably as a strategy for reducing ultraviolet-induced non-melanoma skin cancer. Mother Nature got it right. Sensible sun exposure is important for maintaining an adequate vitamin D status. Once formed in the skin, vitamin D can exit into the circulation to carry out its physiologic functions on calcium and bone metabolism. Some vitamin D however remains in the skin and is activated to interact with its vitamin D receptor to control cell proliferation using a variety of strategies including interacting with long non-coding RNAs to reduce risk of photocarcinogenesis.


1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3; long non-coding RNA; skin cancer; skin health; sunlight; vitamin D

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center