Seasonal changes in non-human animals and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) in humans are associated with immune activation in winter relative to summer. We intended to measure seasonal variation in neopterin, a marker of cellular immunity, its interactions with gender and seasonality of mood. We studied 320 Amish from Lancaster, PA, USA (men=128; 40%) with an average age [Standard deviation (SD)] of 56.7 (13.9) years. Blood neopterin level was measured with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Seasonality was measured with Seasonal Pattern Assessment Questionnaire (SPAQ). Statistical analysis included analysis of covariance (ANCOVAs) and multivariate linear regression. We also investigated interactions of seasonal differences in neopterin with gender, seasonality scores and estimation of SAD diagnosis. We found a significantly higher neopterin level in winter than in summer (p=0.006). There were no significant gender or seasonality interactions. Our study confirmed the hypothesized higher neopterin level in winter. A cross sectional design was our major limitation. If this finding will be replicated by longitudinal studies in multiple groups, neopterin could be used to monitor immune status across seasons in demographically diverse samples, even if heterogeneous in gender distribution, degree of seasonality of mood.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Medicine
- Clinical Biochemistry