Disinfection and healing effects of 222-nm UVC light on methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection in mouse wounds

J Photochem Photobiol B. 2018 Jan;178:10-18. doi: 10.1016/j.jphotobiol.2017.10.030. Epub 2017 Oct 27.


UVC radiation is known to be highly germicidal. However, exposure to 254-nm-UVC light causes DNA lesions such as cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers (CPD) in human cells, and can induce skin cancer after long-term repeated exposures. It has been reported that short wavelength UVC is absorbed by proteins in the membrane and cytosol, and fails to reach the nucleus of human cells. Hence, irradiation with 222-nm UVC might be an optimum combination of effective disinfection and biological safety to human cells. In this study, the biological effectiveness of 222-nm UVC was investigated using a mouse model of a skin wound infected with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Irradiation with 222-nm UVC significantly reduced bacterial numbers on the skin surface compared with non-irradiated skin. Bacterial counts in wounds evaluated on days 3, 5, 8 and 12 after irradiation demonstrated that the bactericidal effect of 222-nm UVC was equal to or more effective than 254-nm UVC. Histological analysis revealed that migration of keratinocytes which is essential for the wound healing process was impaired in wounds irradiated with 254-nm UVC, but was unaffected in 222-nm UVC irradiated wounds. No CPD-expressing cells were detected in either epidermis or dermis of wounds irradiated with 222-nm UVC, whereas CPD-expressing cells were found in both epidermis and dermis irradiation with 254-nm UVC. These results suggest that 222-nm UVC light may be a safe and effective way to reduce the rate of surgical site and other wound infections.

Keywords: 222-nm UVC; CPD; Dermis; Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus; Wound infection.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA Damage
  • Disinfection / methods*
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus / physiology*
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus / radiation effects*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Skin / microbiology
  • Skin / physiopathology
  • Skin / radiation effects
  • Staphylococcal Infections / physiopathology
  • Staphylococcal Infections / therapy*
  • Ultraviolet Rays*
  • Wound Healing / radiation effects*