Seasonal affective disorder and seasonal changes in weight and sleep duration are inversely associated with plasma adiponectin levels

Document Type


Publication Date



Overlapping pathways between mood and metabolic regulation have increasingly been reported. Although impaired regulation of adiponectin, a major metabolism-regulating hormone, has been implicated in major depressive disorder, its role in seasonal changes in mood and seasonal affective disorder-winter type (SAD), a disorder characterized by onset of mood impairment and metabolic dysregulation (e.g., carbohydrate craving and weight gain) in fall/winter and spontaneous alleviation in spring/summer, has not been previously studied. We studied a convenience sample of 636 Old Order Amish (mean (± SD), 53.6 (±14.8) years; 50.1% males), a population with self-imposed restriction on network electric light at home, and low prevalence of total SAD (t-SAD = syndromal + subsyndromal). We calculated the global seasonality score (GSS), estimated SAD and subsyndromal-SAD after obtaining Seasonal Pattern Assessment Questionnaires (SPAQs), and measured overnight fasting plasma adiponectin levels. We then tested associations between plasma adiponectin levels and GSS, t-SAD, winter-summer difference in self-reported sleep duration, and self-reported seasonal weight change, by using analysis of co-variance (ANCOVA) and linear regression analysis after adjusting for age, gender, and BMI. Participants with t-SAD (N = 14; 2.2%) had significantly lower plasma adiponectin levels (mean ± SEM, 8.76 ± 1.56 μg/mL) than those without t-SAD (mean ± SEM, 11.93 ± 0.22 μg/mL) (p = 0.035). In addition, there was significant negative association between adiponectin levels and winter-summer difference in self-reported sleep duration (p = 0.025) and between adiponectin levels and self-reported seasonal change in weight (p = 0.006). There was no significant association between GSS and adiponectin levels (p = 0.88). To our knowledge, this is the first study testing the association of SAD with adiponectin levels. Replication and extension of our findings longitudinally and, then, interventionally, may implicate low adiponectin as a novel target for therapeutic intervention in SAD.


Accepted manuscript (postprint) version.

The published version of record of the article is subscription-access, and is accessible via the DOI in the citation below.



Source Publication

Journal of Psychiatric Research