Objective—To determine the effects of UVB radiation produced by artificial lights on serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations in domestic rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculi).
Animals—9 juvenile domestic rabbits.
Procedures—After an acclimation period, rabbits were anesthetized with isoflurane, and an initial blood sample was collected for determination of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration. Rabbits were randomly assigned to receive 12-hour exposure to UVB radiation produced by 2 compact fluorescent lights daily (n = 5) or no UVB supplementation (4) commencing on day 1. The UVB radiation emitted into the cage was measured at 9 points approximately 34 cm from the surface of the UVB light sources (representing the position of the rabbits in the cage) after 10 hours of exposure on days 1, 8, and 14. On day 14, another blood sample was collected from anesthetized rabbits for determination of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration.
Results—The UVB radiation level was 8.3 to 58.1 μW/cm2 for the exposed rabbits and consistently < 0.001 μW/cm2 for the control rabbits. Mean ± SD serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations in the rabbits that were or were not provided supplemental UVB radiation for 14 days differed significantly (66.4 ± 14.3 nmol/L and 31.7 ± 9.9 nmol/L, respectively).
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Exposure to UVB radiation produced by artificial light significantly increased serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration in juvenile rabbits. Because vitamin D is an essential hormone in vertebrates, these findings suggested that the provision of supplemental UVB radiation to captive rabbits may be important.