All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Jarred Younger

Advisory Committee Members

Kevin Fontaine

Richard Shelton

Robert Sorge

Document Type

Thesis

Date of Award

2021

Degree Name by School

Master of Arts (MA) College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

Prior research has suggested a possible role for the proinflammatory adipokine leptin in depression. Leptin has also been associated with stress, a known predictor of depression. The purpose of this project was to investigate associations between stress, leptin, and depressed mood. We used data from a larger observational study that collected daily levels of plasma leptin and self-reported stress and depressed mood from 55 women over 25 days. Women with and without chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) were included. We hypothesized the following: increased stress would be associated with both worsened mood and higher leptin, and that leptin would be positively associated with depressed mood. Vitamin D was also explored as a potential moderating factor. Linear mixed models were used to analyze associations between daily stress, leptin, and mood at a 1-day time lag. Results suggested an association between stress and next-day leptin, dependent on vitamin D level (p = .018). Leptin also varied by patient group depending on vitamin D (p = .018), with highest leptin observed among women with CFS and lower vitamin D (< 20 ng/mL). Overall, findings support further investigation of vitamin D in relation to stress and leptin; leptin, however, does not appear to play a substantial role in depressed mood.

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