Sunlight exposure exerts immunomodulatory effects to reduce multiple sclerosis severity. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Sunlight exposure exerts immunomodulatory effects to reduce multiple sclerosis severity.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 Jan 5 ;118(1). PMID: 33376202
Multiple sclerosis (MS) disease risk is associated with reduced sun-exposure. This study assessed the relationship between measures of sun exposure (vitamin D [vitD], latitude) and MS severity in the setting of two multicenter cohort studies (= 946,= 990). Additionally, effect-modification by medication and photosensitivity-associatedvariants was assessed. High serum vitD was associated with a reduced MS severity score (MSSS), reduced risk for relapses, and lower disability accumulation over time. Low latitude was associated with higher vitD, lower MSSS, fewer gadolinium-enhancing lesions, and lower disability accumulation. The association of latitude with disability was lacking in IFN-β-treated patients. In carriers of:rs1805008(T), who reported increased sensitivity toward sunlight, lower latitude was associated with higher MRI activity, whereas for noncarriers there was less MRI activity at lower latitudes. In a further exploratory approach, the effect of ultraviolet (UV)-phototherapy on the transcriptome of immune cells of MS patients was assessed using samples from an earlier study. Phototherapy induced a vitD and type I IFN signature that was most apparent in monocytes but that could also be detected in B and T cells. In summary, our study suggests beneficial effects of sun exposure on established MS, as demonstrated by a correlative network between the three factors: Latitude, vitD, and disease severity. However, sun exposure might be detrimental for photosensitive patients. Furthermore, a direct induction of type I IFNs through sun exposure could be another mechanism of UV-mediated immune-modulation in MS.