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Evaluation of DNA lesions and radicals generated by a 233 nm far-UVC LED in superficial ex vivo skin wounds

L. Buscha,b, M. Krögera, J. Schleusenera, A.L. Kleina, S.B. Lohana, M. Guttmannc, C.M. Keckb, M.C. Meinkea

Published in:

J. Photochem. Photobiol., B, vol. 245, art. 112757 (2023).


The application of a far-ultraviolet C (UVC) light emitting diode (LED) of 233 nm showed significant bactericidal efficacy at an applied dose between 20 and 80 mJ cm-2 as reported recently. In addition, only minor epidermal DNA lesions were observed in ex vivo human skin and in vitro epidermal models <10% of the minimal erythema dose of UVB radiation.
To broaden the potential range of applications of such systems, e.g. to include postoperative application on wounds for the purpose of decontamination, we assessed how a disruption of normal anatomic skin structure and function influences the skin damage induced by light from 233 nm far-UVC LEDs. Thus, we induced superficial skin wounds by mechanical detachment of the stratum corneum in ex vivo human skin. Barrier-disruption of the skin could be successfully determined by measuring an increase in the transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and the stratum corneum loss could be determined morphologically by 2-photon microscopy (2-PM). After far-UVC irradiation of the skin, we screened the tissue for the development of cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers (CPDs) and 6–4 photoproducts (6-4PPs). The abundance of DNA lesions was elevated in wound skin in comparison to intact skin after irradiation with far-UVC. However, no increase in DNA lesions was detected when artificial wound exudate consisting of cell culture medium and serum was applied to the disrupted skin surface prior to irradiation. This effect agrees with the results of ray tracing simulations of the absorption of far-UVC light incident on a superficial skin wound. Interestingly, no significant deviations in radical formation between intact skin and superficially wounded skin were detected after far-UVC irradiation as analyzed by electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy. In conclusion, 233 nm LED light at a dose of 60 mJ/cm2 could be applied safely on superficial wounds for the purpose of skin antisepsis as long as the wounds are covered with wound fluid.

a Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Corporate Member of Freie Universität Berlin and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Department of Dermatology, Venereology and Allergology, Center of Experimental and Applied Cutaneous Physiology, Charitéplatz 1, 10117 Berlin, Germany
b Philipps-Universität Marburg, Department of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics, Robert-Koch-Str. 4, 35032 Marburg, Germany
c Ferdinand-Braun-Institut (FBH), Gustav-Kirchhoff-Straße 4, 12489 Berlin, Germany


Far-UVC, LED, Skin wounds, Free radicals, DNA damage, Ray tracing simulation

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