Obesity has been implicated in several diseases, including cancer; however, the relationship of obesity and susceptibility to ultraviolet (UV) radiation-caused skin diseases has not been investigated. As UV-induced oxidative stress has been implicated in several skin diseases, we assessed the role of obesity on UVB-induced oxidative stress in genetically obese Lep(ob)/Lep(ob) (leptin-deficient) mice. Here, we report that chronic exposure to UVB (120 mJ/cm(2)) resulted in greater oxidative stress in the skin of obese mice in terms of higher levels of H(2)O(2) and NO production, photo-oxidative damage of lipids and proteins, and greater depletion of antioxidant defense enzymes, like glutathione, glutathione peroxidase, and catalase. As UV-induced oxidative stress mediates activation of MAPK and NF-kappaB signaling pathways, we determined the effects of UVB on these pathways in obese mice. Exposure of obese mice to UVB resulted in phosphorylation of ERK1/2, JNK, and p38 proteins of the MAPK family. Compared to wild-type mice, the obese mice exhibited higher levels of phosphorylation of these proteins, greater activation of NF-kappaB/p65, and higher levels of circulating proinflammatory cytokines, including TNF-alpha, IL-1beta and IL-6, on UVB irradiation. Taking these results together, our study suggests for the first time that obesity in mice is associated with greater susceptibility to UVB-induced oxidative stress and therefore may be a risk factor for skin diseases associated with UVB-induced oxidative stress.