Serum neopterin and somatization in women with chemical intolerance, depressives, and normals

Iris R. Bell, Roberto Patarca, Carol M. Baldwin, Nancy G. Klimas, Gary E.R. Schwartz, Elizabeth E. Hardin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

The symptom of intolerance to low levels of environmental chemicals (CI, chemical intolerance) is a feature of several controversial polysymptomatic conditions that overlap symptomatically with depression and somatization, i.e., chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, multiple chemical sensitivity, and Persian Gulf syndrome. These syndromes can involve many somatic symptoms consistent with possible inflammation. Immunological or neurogenic triggering might account for such inflammation. Serum neopterin, which has an inverse relationship with l-tryptophan availability, may offer a marker of inflammation and macrophage/monocyte activation. This study compared middle-aged women with CI (who had high levels of affective distress; n = 14), depressives without CI (n = 10), and normals (n = 11). Groups did not differ in 4 p.m. resting levels of serum neopterin. However, the CI alone had strong positive correlations between neopterin and all of the scales measuring somatization. These preliminary findings suggest the need for additional research on biological correlates of 'unexplained' multiple somatic symptoms in subtypes of apparent somatizing disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-18
Number of pages6
JournalNeuropsychobiology
Volume38
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 1998

Keywords

  • Chemical intolerance
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Depression
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Neopterin
  • Somatization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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