Animal studies have revealed seasonal patterns in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) monoamine (MA) turnover. In humans, no study had systematically assessed seasonal patterns in CSF MA turnover in a large set of healthy adults.
Standardized amounts of CSF were prospectively collected from 223 healthy individuals undergoing spinal anesthesia for minor surgical procedures. The metabolites of serotonin (5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid, 5-HIAA), dopamine (homovanillic acid, HVA) and norepinephrine (3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylglycol, MPHG) were measured using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Concentration measurements by sampling and birth dates were modeled using a non-linear quantile cosine function and locally weighted scatterplot smoothing (LOESS, span=0.75). The cosine model showed a unimodal season of sampling 5-HIAA zenith in April and a nadir in October (p-value of the amplitude of the cosine=0.00050), with predicted maximum (PCmax) and minimum (PCmin) concentrations of 173 and 108 nmol/L, respectively, implying a 60% increase from trough to peak. Season of birth showed a unimodal 5-HIAA zenith in May and a nadir in November (p=0.00339; PCmax=172 and PCmin=126). The non-parametric LOESS showed a similar pattern to the cosine in both season of sampling and season of birth models, validating the cosine model. A final model including both sampling and birth months demonstrated that both sampling and birth seasons were independent predictors of 5-HIAA concentrations.
In subjects without mental illness, 5-HT turnover shows circannual variation by season of sampling as well as season of birth, with peaks in spring and troughs in fall.