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LED-based UV irradiation safely prevents the loss of bone and muscle mass in mice

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A research team at Nagoya University in Japan has revealed that narrow-range ultraviolet (UV) irradiation using light emitting diodes (LEDs) safely increases serum vitamin D levels in aging mice and thereby prevents the loss of their bone and muscle mass. The findings were recently published in the journal Scientific Reports.
Decreased bone density (osteoporosis) and the loss of muscle mass and strength (sarcopenia) are age-related disorders. While there are some remedies for osteoporosis, there is no effective treatment for sarcopenia. Recently, a condition called osteosarcopenia—osteoporosis and sarcopenia together—which impedes the daily life activities of the sufferer, has also been observed among many elderly people.

Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones and muscles, and its deficiency is a possible cause of osteosarcopenia. Vitamin D can be produced when the skin is exposed to sunlight. However, the availability of sunlight depends on various factors like latitude, season, weather and patient mobility, which makes it difficult to obtain vitamin D consistently from sunlight alone. Indeed, it is known that many elderly people have a vitamin D deficiency.

The research team, consisting of Prof. Yoshihiro Nishida, Dr. Kazuya Makida, and colleagues at the Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine, has been working to establish a method of supplying vitamin D in a safe and stable manner at low cost. "Unlike sunlight, LED-based UV irradiation could be a consistent and stable source of vitamin D," says Dr. Makida.

In a previous study, the team had revealed that…
Science X staff
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