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ABSTRACT

Fluorescent sunlamps are commonly employed as convenient sources in photobiology experiments. The ability of Kodacel to filter photobiologically irrelevant UVC wavelengths has been described. Yet there still remains a major unaddressed issue—the over representation of UVB in the output. The shortest terrestrial solar wavelengths reaching the surface are ∼295 nm with the 295–320 nm range comprising ∼4% of the solar UV irradiance. In Kodacel-filtered sunlamps, 47% of the UV output falls in this range. Consequently, in studies designed to understand skin photobiology after solar exposure, the use of these unfiltered sunlamps may result in misleading, or even incorrect conclusions. To demonstrate the importance of using an accurate representation of the UV portion of sunlight, the ability of different ultraviolet radiation (UVR) sources to induce the expression of a reporter gene was assayed. Unfiltered fluorescent sunlamps (FS lamps) induce optimal chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) activity at apparently low doses (10–20 J/cm2). Filtering the FS lamps with Kodacel raised the delivered dose for optimal CAT activity to 50–60 mJ/cm2. With the more solar-like UVA-340 lamps somewhat lower levels of CAT activities were induced even though the apparent delivered doses were significantly greater than for either the FS or Kodacel-filtered sunlamp (KFS lamps). When DNA from parallel-treated cells was analyzed for photoproduct formation by a radioimmuneassay, it was shown that the induction of CAT activity correlated with the level of induced photoproduct formation regardless of the source employed.