Anxiety frequently accompanies low-grade inflammation-associated conditions like depression, insulin resistance, coronary heart disease and metabolic syndrome. The association between anxiety and low-grade inflammation is, unlike between depression and low-grade inflammation, a very sparsely studied area in general populations. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether anxiety symptoms as well as comorbid anxiety and depressive symptoms are associated with low-grade inflammation at population level.
The general population-based Northern Finland 1966 Birth Cohort was followed until age 31 (n=2688 males and 2837 females), when the highly sensitive CRP concentrations were measured. Anxiety and depressive symptoms were defined by Hopkins Symptom Checklist-25 (HSCL-25).
After adjusting for confounders, logistic regression analyses showed that anxiety symptoms alone increased the probability for elevated hs-CRP levels (>3.0mg/L) in males over two-fold (2.19 CI 95% 1.08-4.46), while comorbid anxiety and depressive symptoms caused a 1.7-fold (1.76 CI 95% 1.13-2.74) increase in the probability for elevated hs-CRP levels (1.0-3.0mg/L).
Our results support the hypothesis that anxiety as well as comorbid anxiety and depression can be associated with an increased risk for low-grade inflammation in males at population level.
Several studies have suggested an association between IgE-mediated atopic allergies and depression. The present study extends our understanding about putative gender differences of this association and provides further epidemiological evidence for our previous finding that the association between atopy and depression may be characteristic for females only. In order to clearly determine the presence of atopic disorders and depression, we used more valid tools than had been employed earlier and we had access to a database (the Northern Finland 1966 Birth Cohort), in which individuals were followed up prospectively until the age of 31 years. The information on allergic symptoms, verified by skin-prick tests and comprising data of 5518 individuals, was used to ascertain the presence of atopy. Depression was assessed with the help of Hopkins' Symptom Checklist-25 and self-reported doctor-diagnosed depression. After adjusting for a father's social class, mother's parity, and place of residence, logistic regression analyses showed that the risk of developing depression increased in parallel with the increasing severity of depression and, when compared with nonatopic subjects, was 3.0 to 4.7-fold up in atopic females and statistically significant. In atopic males, the association between atopy and depression was statistically significant only in the highest depression scores, the odds ratio being 6.3-fold. The results indicate that females suffering from atopic diseases might possess an elevated risk of developing depression already during early adulthood. In males, the association between these two disorders is evident only among the most severe manifestations of depression. Possible background theories, that is, genetic abnormalities in serotonin metabolism, HPA-axis dysfunction, and histamine theory are discussed.
Problems associated with sewage treatment and human wastes at high latitudes are briefly reviewed. In view of the fact that E. coli and other faecal bacteria can survive in the snow and the coastal waters of polar regions, several methods of how to deal with sewage outfalls in the Arctic and Antarctic are compared and discussed. Some consequences of raw sewage on the health of captive populations of a variety of Antarctic invertebrates and fish are described. Locomotion and respiration appear to be most affected. However, gaps, both in understanding the biological impact of human sewage on polar ecosystems and in finding optimal solutions for the disposal and treatment of the wastes generated by people who live in polar settlements, unfortunately still remain.
Compound eyes, nauplius eyes, frontal organs, intracerebral ocelli, and caudal photoreceptors are the main light and darkness detectors in crustaceans, but they need not be present all at once in an individual and in some crustaceans no photoreceptors whatsoever are known. Compound eye designs reflect on their functions and have evolved to allow the eye to operate optimally under a variety of environmental conditions. Dark-light-adaptational changes manifest themselves in pigment granule translocations, cell movements, and optical adjustments which fine-tune an eye's performance to rapid and unpredictable fluctuations in ambient light intensities as well as to the slower and predictable light level changes associated with day and night oscillations. Recycling of photoreceptive membrane and light-induced membrane collapse are superficially similar events that involve the transduction cascade, intracellular calcium, and membrane fatty acid composition, but which differ in aetiology and longterm consequence. Responses to intermittant illumination and linearly polarized light evoke in the eye of many crustaceans characteristic responses that appear to be attuned to each species' special needs. How the visual responses are processed more centrally and to what extent a crustacean makes behavioural use of e-vector discrimination and flickering lights are questions, however, that still have not been satisfactorily answered for the vast majority of all crustacean species. The degree of light-induced photoreceptor damage depends on a large number of variables, but once manifest, it tends to be progressive and irreversible. Concomittant temperature stress aggravates the situation and there is evidence that free radicals and lipid hydroperoxides are involved.
The association between insulin resistance (IR) and depression is a subject of growing research interest, especially as previous population-based studies have presented conflicting findings. The present study extends our understanding about the putative impact of the severity of depressive symptoms on this association and it provides further epidemiological evidence in support of earlier findings, suggesting that the association between IR and depression is present already in young adult males. To determine the impact of the severity of depressive symptoms on the putative association between IR and depression in young adult males, we were given access to the Northern Finland 1966 Birth Cohort database. During the 31-year follow-up survey of this genetically homogeneous birth cohort, IR was assessed by 'Qualitative Insulin Sensitivity Check Index' (QUICKI), and severity of depressive symptoms by 'Hopkins' Symptom Checklist-25' (HSCL-25). This study involved 2609 male cohort members with complete variable information. In men, the means of the QUICKI-values decreased (i.e., IR increased) in line with the increased severity of depressive symptoms as assessed by HSCL-25 subgroups (analysis of covariance P-value for trend, P=0.003). In multivariate generalized logistic regression analyses, after adjusting for confounders, IR was positively associated with current severe depressive symptoms, the odds ratio (OR) being over threefold (adjusted OR 3.15, 95% confidence interval 1.48-6.68) and the value of OR increased in parallel with a tighter definition of IR (P-value for trend=0.007). The results indicate that in young males, a positive association exists specifically with severe depressive symptoms.Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 9 May 2006; doi:10.1038/sj.mp.4001838.
In spite of the unique conditions they have to operate under, the pineal organs of Antarctic fishes have not previously been examined. We determined immunohistochemically that in the end-vesicles and the pineal stalks of Pagothenia borchgrevinki (a species found directly beneath the sea-ice) as well as Trematomus bernacchii (a species preferring somewhat deeper water than the former) at least two populations of physiologically-different cells occurred that displayed reactions indicative of typical vertebrate photoreceptors. Comparisons with immunocytochemically treated retinal sections from the eyes of the same two species showed that anti-opsin reactivity, characteristic of rods, was particularly strong in the lumina of the pineal stalks of both species. Anti-visinin reactions stained cones in the retinal sections of both fishes and occurred throughout the pineal organs, but in particular in the end vesicles of the pineals of both species. The difference in preferred habitat depth between the two species appears to have had very little influence on both retinal and pineal immunocytochemistry. It is concluded that the pineal organs of both species, at least during the austral summer, exhibit signs of being directly photo-sensitive.
The tuatara Sphenodon punctatus, restricted to a few New Zealand offshore islands and now strictly protected, belongs to the Rhynchocephalia, the smallest order of extant reptiles. Earlier light microscopical studies on the retina of this species described photoreceptors with both rod- and cone-like features and the presence of a fovea. A limited amount of retinal material from S. punctatus has now allowed us to prepare the first-ever electron microscopic observations on the eye of this reptile. We were able to distinguish three types of photoreceptor, all with fine structural features characteristic of cone cells. Large single cones as well as double cones had open discs in their outer segments and straight axons with pedicle-type terminals. An additional cone type, characterized by somewhat more slender inner and outer segments, vitreally-displaced cell bodies and oblique axons, resembled short-wavelength cones known from other sauropsids. No cells with rod characteristics could be confirmed in the samples, although they might occur in retinal regions not available for this study. We conclude that the tuatara has cone-like photoreceptors, which-as in other crepuscular or nocturnal reptiles-have acquired rod-like features. The phenotypic adaptations notwithstanding, the set of photoreceptor types is quite typical of the reptilian eye and in some respects reminiscent of those seen in lizards and turtles.
The literature dealing with the lateral eye in lampreys is briefly reviewed here. While there appears to be no longer much doubt that the short and long photoreceptor cells in the lamprey eye correspond to rods and cones, questions of dark/light adaptational changes, the nature of visual pigments, and the roles of retinal serotonin and melatonin need to be re-addressed. Eyes of the larval and postlarval ("macrophthalmia") stages of the lamprey Geotria australis were examined by electron microscopy and it was found that the larval retina is largely undifferentiated except for a small central zone surrounding the optic nerve head. The retina of the postlarval stage is fully differentiated and the photoreceptor outer segments undergo renewal, which appears to involve the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). The distribution of larval RPE and choroidal pigments, postlarval ganglion cells, and the orientation of scleral collagen are unusual for vertebrates. No obvious positional or size differences of any retinal cell type were apparent between day- and night-fixed specimens.
Physical and biological characteristics of solar UV-radiation wavebands A, B, and C are explained and information is provided on UV-levels in particular environments and ocular tissues. The question whether or not the rise in circumpolar UV of the last 20 years or so can be regarded as a threat is briefly addressed and it is concluded that even if no threat to photosynthetic productivity of crops and vegetation exists, there is a danger regarding the status of health of human skin and eyes (in particular the lens). The nature of the UV-induced damage to cornea, lens, and even the retina with its photo-receptive cells and pigment epithelium is assessed and a word of caution is sounded with regard to possible injury-potentiating effects of certain chemicals as seen, for instance, in the recent and alarming rise of cataract in Scottish salmon. Finally, because of the multifaceted effects of UV (e.g. at molecular, cellular, tissue, individual, population, and ecosystem level), a plea is made for a concerted, well-funded, international effort to tackle the many remaining problems at all fronts and from all possible angles.