Suppression of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis by 300-315nm ultraviolet light

Arch Biochem Biophys. 2013 Aug 1;536(1):81-6. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2013 Jun 5.


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic debilitating disease, with lowest incidence in equatorial regions and highest incidence in temperate regions. This relationship is believed to be related to sunlight or UV light exposure. Recent evidence with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an animal model of MS, established that this suppression is not mediated by vitamin D production. UV is comprised of three general wave bands: UVC (100-280nm), UVB (280-320nm) and UVA (320-400nm). In the present study we used four lamps that emit different wavelengths of UV: (1) broad band UVB (BB-UVB: 280-320nm); (2) narrow band UVB (NB-UVB: 300-315nm); (3) broad band UVA (BB-UVA: 300-400nm); and (4) long wavelength UVA (UVA-1: 340-400nm). The effect of these light sources was studied in vitamin D-sufficient C57BL/6 mice. The NB-UVB largely accounted for the suppression and delay of onset of EAE by BB-UVB. In contrast, UVA-1 failed to suppress EAE severity at low (∼2.5KJ/m(2)), medium (∼5.0KJ/m(2)) and high (∼10.0KJ/m(2)) doses. Serum calcium and 25-(OH)D3 levels were unchanged after both NB-UVB and UVA-1 treatments. The results demonstrate that NB-UVB (300-315nm) is largely responsible for light-induced suppression of EAE and its effect is not via production of vitamin D.

Keywords: Autoimmune disease; Sunlight; Vitamin D.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / blood
  • Encephalomyelitis, Autoimmune, Experimental / blood
  • Encephalomyelitis, Autoimmune, Experimental / radiotherapy*
  • Female
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Ultraviolet Therapy* / methods
  • Vitamin D / blood*


  • Vitamin D
  • Calcium