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date: 21 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Animals experience substantial and generally predictable, annual changes in environmental conditions. The changing seasons each present different challenges for animals to address. Mechanisms have evolved in many small mammals to confine breeding to the relatively mild conditions of spring and early summer. In addition to adjustments in reproductive function, other physiological systems including many aspects of immune function and stress responses also vary across the year. The goals of this chapter are to review the current state of our knowledge regarding how psychoneuroimmunological processes vary across the year in small mammals. In the second half of the chapter, we will address what is known about seasonal fluctuations in immune function in humans and the consequences of these rhythms for psychiatric, inflammatory, and infectious diseases.

Keywords: seasonality, photoperiodism, immune responses, melatonin, neuroendocrinology

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