XIONG Wei and HUANG Guangming of the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) o have uncovered a novel sunlight-activated biosynthetic pathway in the mouse brain. Using the rotarod performance test, mice without prior UV exposure required 1/3 longer training time to adapt to the rotation speed of the rod. Moderate UV exposure elevated the level of urocanic acid in blood (UCA), which is later converted to glutamate in brain cells thus contributing to enhanced learning capacity. Besides learning, UV-triggered GLU synthesis could contribute to more sunlight-induced mental and nervous changes such as memory and mood.

CAS news release, May 23, 2018