Our immune systems vary with the seasons, according to a study led by the University of Cambridge that could help explain why conditions such as type 1 diabetes are more frequently diagnosed during the winter months.
The study, funded by JDRF, the Wellcome Trust and the NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre was published today in the journal Nature Communications. The study shows that the activity of almost a quarter of our genes (5,136 out of 22,822 genes tested) differs according to the time of year, with some more active in winter and others more active in summer. This seasonality also affects our immune cells and the composition of our blood and fat tissue.
Scientists have known for some time that various diseases, including autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis, display seasonal variation. However, this is the first time that researchers have shown that this may be down to seasonal changes in how our immune systems function. Read More