Study Title:

The post illumination pupil response is reduced in seasonal affective disorder.

Study Abstract

Individuals with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) may have a decreased retinal sensitivity in the non-image forming light-input pathway. We examined the post illumination pupil response (PIPR) among individuals with SAD and healthy controls to identify possible differences in the melanopsin signaling pathway. We also investigated whether melanopsin gene (OPN4) variations would predict variability in the PIPR. Fifteen SAD and 15 control participants (80% women, mean age 36.7 years, S.D.=14.5) were assessed in the fall/winter. Participants were diagnosed based on DSM-IV-TR criteria. Infrared pupillometry was used to measure pupil diameter prior to, during, and after red and blue stimuli. In response to blue light, the SAD group had a reduced PIPR and a lower PIPR percent change relative to controls. The PIPR after the blue stimulus also varied on the basis of OPN4 I394T genotype, but not OPN4 P10L genotype. These findings may indicate that individuals with SAD have a less sensitive light input pathway as measured by the PIPR, leading to differences in neurobiological and behavioral responses such as alertness, circadian photoentrainment, and melatonin release. In addition, this sensitivity may vary based on sequence variations in OPN4, although a larger sample and replication is needed.

Study Information

Roecklein K, Wong P, Ernecoff N, Miller M, Donofry S, Kamarck M, Wood-Vasey WM, Franzen P.
The post illumination pupil response is reduced in seasonal affective disorder.
Psychiatry Res.
2013 November
Department of Psychology, University of Pittsburgh, 201S Bouquet St, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA.

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