An earlier study has shown significant differences in the CSF monoamine metabolite levels in adults born during different seasons of the year. We study here the relationship between season of birth and CSF monoamine metabolite levels in 283 newborn febrile infants without neurological abnormalities, with an age distribution ranging from birth to about 3 months, adjusting for the confounding variables age and time at lumbar puncture, weight at birth, estimated gestational age at birth, gender, race, and medicaid status. Each of the three metabolite levels as well as their ratios HVA/5-HIAA and 5-HIAA/MHPG showed significant month-of-birth variations, but not the ratio HVA/MHPG. For HVA and MHPG levels, the maximum was obtained around the winter birth months November-December, whereas for 5-HIAA level, the maximum was obtained around the summer birth months June-July. The correlations between HVA and 5-HIAA were, in general, significantly positive within the different birth seasons and races. Among summer-born Caucasian infants, MHPG was significantly positively correlated with HVA and with 5-HIAA, whereas among winter-born Black infants, MHPG was significantly positively correlated with HVA. Season of birth is an unspecific environmental factor that may be proxy for several possible seasonally varying environmental circumstances such as the length of photoperiod, temperature, infections, nutrition, stress and lifestyle. Studies relating season of birth to monoaminergic turnover at different stages of life may yield important clues about the gestational and perinatal origins of neurodevelopment.
- Season of birth