When skin is exposed to ultraviolet radiation from the sun, energy is absorbed by a wide range of molecules. The ensuing changes result in oxidative stress, abnormal chemical linkages within DNA that can lead to mutations and skin cancer, and conversion of a precursor molecule to Vitamin D. But we are now realising that there are other consequences: release of nitric oxide that affects peripheral vasculature, resulting in a lowering of blood pressure; release of neurotransmitters that may affect control of appetite, and production of prostaglandins and cytokines that results in long lasting immune suppression, which may be important in reducing the risk of autoimmune disease.
The paradigm of sun exposure to balance the risks of skin cancer against the benefits of vitamin D, needs to be revised to take account of new findings.
Enquiries or to RSVP:
This lecture is free and open to the public.