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

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.

Bell IR, Patarca R, Baldwin CM, Klimas NG, Schwartz GE, Hardin EE

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