Mounting Evidence Strengthens Link Between Sunlight Exposure and Kidney Damage

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( — August 18, 2022) Orlando, FL — Health authorities have long been recommending some measures helpful in protecting and enhancing kidney health. There are many factors found to be involved, and they include sunlight exposure.

A new collaborative study was carried out by researchers at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and the University of Washington (UW).

In this research, the investigators revealed unexpected insights about how skin exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light worsens clinical symptoms in lupus and other autoimmune diseases.  

It is worth noting that lupus can cause inflammation in the skin, joints, kidneys, brain, heart, blood cells, and lungs. This condition develops when the immune system attacks its own tissue.  

The findings of this research were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).  

In previous research, it has been found that in up to 80 percent of lupus patients, sunlight exposure has the ability to trigger both local skin inflammation and systemic flares, which include kidney disease.  

However, little is known about the underlying mechanisms that drive this process. 

In defining how UV light triggers kidney inflammation, the investigating team looked into the role of neutrophils. It is worth noting that neutrophils are a type of white blood cell that are abundantly found in the body.  

They are also found to act as a first responder to any kind of inflammation and have been associated with skin and kidney tissue injury in lupus patients. 

In the study, the investigators looked for markers of inflammation and injury in the blood, skin, and kidney at different time points following UV light exposure in mice.

It’s been demonstrated that neutrophils not only infiltrated the UV light-exposed skin and dispersed throughout the circulatory system but also migrated to the kidney. 

“Interestingly, one subset of these neutrophils, the ones that we think are more damaging, first went to the skin that was exposed to the UV light and then turned around and went to the kidney,” says Sladjana Skopelja-Gardner, Ph.D.

Skopelja-Gardner is an assistant professor of medicine at Geisel who worked with Keith Elkon, MD, at UW on the study.

Researchers continue to carry out studies investigating the various aspects of kidney health. Time and again it’s been shown that making dietary and lifestyle improvements is essential. There are also supplements like Divine Bounty Lion’s Mane that may be helpful.

This medicinal mushroom has long been studied on due to its remarkable healing effects. (

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