Many photo immunological studies have used UV radiation sources that emit nonsolar UV spectral energy and UV doses based on nonimmunological endpoints, e.g. erythema and skin edema. Interpretation of these data has led to misunderstanding when extrapolated to hypothetical effects in humans exposed to solar UV. The purpose of this study was to: (1) establish UV dose response relationships for murine skin edema and immunosuppression, and (2) determine how different UV spectra affect these relationships. Back skin and ear minimum edema doses (MEdD) for Kodacel-filtered FS20 sunlamp UV (290-400 nm) were greater than two-fold higher than those for unfiltered FS20 sunlamp UV (250-400 nm). Xenon are solar simulator UV (295-400 nm) MEdD were > 10-fold higher than those for unfiltered sunlamp UV. Back skin and ear MEdD differed two- to five-fold between C3H/HeN, SWR/J and HRA/Skh-1 mice. The minimum immunosuppression doses (MISD) in C3H mice showed similar UV source spectrum dependence. The solar simulator UV MISD was 5.4- and 1.5-fold higher than for unfiltered and Kodacel-filtered sunlamp UV MISD, respectively. Furthermore, MISD were from 3- to 50-fold higher than the MEdD for the three UV sources. The UV bioeffectiveness spectra indicated that UVC energy (250-290 nm) contributed 12% and 18%, respectively, of the total skin edema and immunosuppression UV energy. These data demonstrate the variability in UV sensitivity among mouse strains, the significant differences between murine MEdD and MISD and how these differences are influenced by nonsolar regions (below 295 nm) of the UV spectrum.