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Transl Psychiatry. 2013 Oct 8;3:e311. doi: 10.1038/tp.2013.84.

Seasonal variation of serotonin turnover in human cerebrospinal fluid, depressive symptoms and the role of the 5-HTTLPR.

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1] Department of Psychiatry, Brain Center Rudolf Magnus, University Medical Center Utrecht (UMCU), Utrecht, The Netherlands [2] Department of Psychiatry, ZNA hospitals, Antwerp, Belgium.


Studying monoaminergic seasonality is likely to improve our understanding of neurobiological mechanisms underlying season-associated physiological and pathophysiological behavior. Studies of monoaminergic seasonality and the influence of the serotonin-transporter-linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR) on serotonin seasonality have yielded conflicting results, possibly due to lack of power and absence of multi-year analyses. We aimed to assess the extent of seasonal monoamine turnover and examined the possible involvement of the 5-HTTLPR. To determine the influence of seasonality on monoamine turnover, 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) and homovanillic acid (HVA) were measured in the cerebrospinal fluid of 479 human subjects collected during a 3-year period. Cosine and non-parametric seasonal modeling were applied to both metabolites. We computed serotonin (5-HT) seasonality values and performed an association analysis with the s/l alleles of the 5-HTTLPR. Depressive symptomatology was assessed using the Beck Depression Inventory-II. Circannual variation in 5-HIAA fitted a spring-peak cosine model that was significantly associated with sampling month (P=0.0074). Season of sampling explained 5.4% (P=1.57 × 10(-7)) of the variance in 5-HIAA concentrations. The 5-HTTLPR s-allele was associated with increased 5-HIAA seasonality (standardized regression coefficient=0.12, P=0.020, N=393). 5-HIAA seasonality correlated with depressive symptoms (Spearman's rho=0.13, P=0.018, N=345). In conclusion, we highlight a dose-dependent association of the 5-HTTLPR with 5-HIAA seasonality and a positive correlation between 5-HIAA seasonality and depressive symptomatology. The presented data set the stage for follow-up in clinical populations with a role for seasonality, such as affective disorders.

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