Exposure to Solar UVR Suppresses Cell-Mediated Immunization Responses in Humans: The Australian Ultraviolet Radiation and Immunity Study.


Journal Article

Animal and human studies show that exposure to solar-simulated UVR is immunomodulatory. Human studies that used natural sun exposure and controlled for confounding are rare. We immunized 217 healthy adults (age range = 18-40 years) with a T-cell-dependent antigen, keyhole limpet hemocyanin, and measured personal clothing-adjusted UVR exposure (for 5 days before and after immunization), lifetime cumulative UVR exposure, serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration at immunization, and potential confounding factors. We tested cellular and humoral immune responses in relation to UVR exposure. The delayed-type hypersensitivity response to keyhole limpet hemocyanin recall challenge was lower in individuals with higher personal clothing-adjusted UVR exposure on the day before immunization (P = 0.015) and during intervals spanning the day before to 2-3 days after immunization. There was an incremental increase in T helper type 17 cells (as a proportion of CD4+ T cells) from preimmunization to postimmunization in the high, compared with the low, personal clothing-adjusted UVR exposure group (0.31% vs. -0.39%, P = 0.004). Keyhole limpet hemocyanin-specific antibody titers were not associated with acute or cumulative UVR exposure or serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels. Higher UVR exposure at antigen sensitization was associated with a reduced delayed-type hypersensitivity response and altered T helper type 17 kinetics. This has implications for the effectiveness of vaccinations and susceptibility to infections that rely on cell-mediated immune responses.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Swaminathan, A; Harrison, SL; Ketheesan, N; van den Boogaard, CHA; Dear, K; Allen, M; Hart, PH; Cook, M; Lucas, RM

Published Date

  • July 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 139 / 7

Start / End Page

  • 1545 - 1553.e6

PubMed ID

  • 30684553

Pubmed Central ID

  • 30684553

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1523-1747

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-202X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.jid.2018.12.025


  • eng