Validation of a novel method of ultraviolet-induced cutaneous inflammation and its associations with anhedonia


Affective immunology of the skin is a growing area; however, established protocols for measuring individual differences in cutaneous inflammation are lacking. To address this, we present a preliminary validation of Precision Implementation of Minimal Erythema Dose (PI-MED) testing as a method for measuring cutaneous inflammation. PI-MED is a recently adapted protocol, optimized for reproducibility and individual differences research, that uses ultraviolet (UV) light to evoke cutaneous erythema, or inflammatory skin reddening. PI-MED's novel UV dosage schedule produces standardized erythema responses across different skin pigmentation types and shows strong internal consistency within person and good test-retest reliability across 8-10 weeks. In line with predictions, increased PI-MED erythema was associated with heightened anhedonia, across several measures, beyond influences of non-affective covariates. While future work should further refine the dosage schedule for the lightest and darkest skin types, overall, evidence supports PI-MED as a protocol for inducing and measuring individual differences in cutaneous inflammation. Further, PI-MED-induced erythema can expand psychoneuroimmunology research by offering a complementary assessment for general inflammatory tone. This work adds to a growing body of evidence demonstrating a distinct relationship between inflammation and anhedonia.



C-reactive protein, psychological stress, positive emotions, social experience, human skin, alpha, sensitivity, depression, neuroendocrine, interleukin-6