HealthDay News — Healthy adults receiving high-dose vitamin D3 have reduced expression of pro-inflammatory mediators 48 hours after experimental sunburn, according to a study published online in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

Jeffrey F. Scott, MD, from the University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, and colleagues randomized 20 healthy adults to receive placebo or a high dose of vitamin D3 1 hour after experimental sunburn induced by ultraviolet radiation.

The researchers found that at 48 hours after experimental sunburn, participants receiving vitamin D3 showed reduced expression of the pro-inflammatory mediators tumor necrosis factor-α and inducible nitric oxide synthase (P =.04 and .02, respectively) in skin biopsy specimens. Participants with significantly higher vitamin D3 after treatment (P =.007) had increased skin expression of the anti-inflammatory mediator arginase-1 and a sustained reduction in skin redness (P =.005 and .02, respectively); these were associated with significant expression of genes related to repair of the skin barrier. Significant expression of pro-inflammatory genes was seen in participants with lower serum vitamin D3.

“Together the data may have broad implications for the immunotherapeutic properties of vitamin D in skin homeostasis, and implicate arginase-1 up regulation as a previously unreported mechanism by which vitamin D exerts anti-inflammatory effects in humans,” the authors write.

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Scott JF, Das LM, Ahsanuddin S, et al. Oral vitamin D rapidly attenuates inflammation from sunburn: an interventional study [published online July 5, 2017]. J Invest Dermatol. doi:10.1016/j.jid.2017.04.040