Resistance of a lizard (the green anole, Anolis carolinensis; Polychridae) to ultraviolet radiation-induced immunosuppression

Rhian B. Cope, David L. Fabacher, Camilla Lieske, Craig A. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The green anole (Anolis carolinensis) is the most northerly distributed of its Neotropical genus. This lizard avoids a winter hibernation phase by the use of sun basking behaviors. Inevitably, this species is exposed to high doses of ambient solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR). Increases in terrestrial ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation secondary to stratospheric ozone depletion and habitat perturbation potentially place this species at risk of UVR-induced immunosuppression. Daily exposure to subinflammatory UVR (8 kJ/m2/day UV-B, 85 kJ/m2/day ultraviolet A [UV-A]), 6 days per week for 4 weeks (total cumulative doses of 192 kJ/m2 UV-B, 2.04 × 103 kJ/m2 UV-A) did not suppress the anole's acute or delayed type hypersensitivity (DTH) response to horseshoe crab hemocyanin. In comparison with the available literature UV-B doses as low as 0.1 and 15.9 kJ/m2 induced suppression of DTH responses in mice and humans, respectively. Exposure of anoles to UVR did not result in the inhibition of ex vivo splenocyte phagocytosis of fluorescein labeled Escherichia coli or ex vivo splenocyte nitric oxide production. Doses of UV-B ranging from 0.35 to 45 k J/m2 have been reported to suppress murine splenic/ peritoneal macrophage phagocytosis and nitric oxide production. These preliminary studies demonstrate the resistance of green anoles to UVR-induced immunosuppression. Methanol extracts of anole skin contained two peaks in the ultraviolet wavelength range that could be indicative of photoprotective substances. However, the resistance of green anoles to UVR is probably not completely attributable to absorption by UVR photoprotective substances in the skin but more likely results from a combination of other factors including absorption by the cutis and absorption and reflectance by various components of the dermis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-54
Number of pages9
JournalPhotochemistry and Photobiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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