The relationship between constitutive pigmentation and sensitivity to ultraviolet radiation induced erythema is dose-dependent

Pigment Cell Res. 2003 Oct;16(5):477-9. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0749.2003.00076.x.


The relationship between skin colour and experimental exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) B, with response measured as erythema was studied. Two reflectance methods were used to measure skin colour--tristimulus colorimetry using a Minolta instrument (summarized as the alpha characteristic angle) and the melanin index based on the Diastron reflectance instrument. As expected both measures are highly correlated (0.91). A dose-dependent relationship between skin colour measured as the alpha characteristic angle and UVR was established, with the gradient increasing from 0.99 at 119 mJ to 2.7 at 300 mJ, with the relevant standard errors being 0.39 and 0.47, respectively. Similarly, for the melanin index (where the scale goes in the opposite direction) the gradient differs between -0.49 for 119 mJ and -0.91 for 300 mJ, with the standard errors being 0.14 and 0.17 respectively. The proportion of variation explained is also greater at higher UVR challenge doses. Studies relating UVR sensitivity and pigmentation need to take account of the dose of UVR administered.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Erythema / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Melanins / radiation effects
  • Radiation Tolerance / physiology*
  • Skin / radiation effects
  • Skin Pigmentation / physiology*
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects*


  • Melanins