UVC light prophylaxis for cutaneous wound infections in mice

Tianhong Dai, Barbara Garcia, Clinton K. Murray, Mark S. Vrahas, Michael R. Hamblin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


UVC light has long been known to be highly germicidal but has not been much developed as a therapy for infections. This study investigated the potential of UVC light for the prophylaxis of infections developing in highly contaminated superficial cutaneous wounds. In vitro studies demonstrated that the pathogenic bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus were inactivated at UVC light exposures much lower than those needed for a similar effect on mammalian keratinocytes. Mouse models of partial-thickness skin abrasions infected with bioluminescent P. aeruginosa and S. aureus were developed. Approximately 107 bacterial cells were inoculated onto wounds measuring 1.2 by1.2 cm on the dorsal surfaces of mice. UVC light was delivered at 30 min after bacterial inoculation. It was found that for both bacterial infections, UVC light at a single radiant exposure of 2.59 J/cm2 reduced the bacterial burden in the infected mouse wounds by approximately 10-fold in comparison to those in untreated mouse wounds (P < 0.00001). Furthermore, UVC light increased the survival rate of mice infected with P. aeruginosa by 58.3% (P = 0.0023) and increased the wound healing rate in mice infected with S. aureus by 31.2% (P < 0.00001). DNA lesions were observed in the UVC light-treated mouse wounds; however, the lesions were extensively repaired by 48 h after UVC light exposure. These results suggested that UVC light may be used for the prophylaxis of cutaneous wound infections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3841-3848
Number of pages8
JournalAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes


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