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British Society for Immunology response to research in Nature Communications on seasonal variations in gene activity linked to the immune system

Professor Peter Openshaw, President of the British Society for Immunology and Professor of Experimental Medicine at Imperial College London, said

“It’s a very interesting paper, showing how careful you have to be in ensuring that samples from cases and controls are well-matched in big studies like this where many measurements are made. 

“To me, the interesting question is why there is such variation and what it causes: does it arise partly because of the different infections that circulate at different times of year, or do these changes have other causes? The authors hint that sunlight-related changes in vitamin D may have effects but how much do these oscillations affect immune responses, for example, to vaccines and viral infections? There are many great questions left open for future study.”

This statement is in response to the following paper: Dopico et al. 2015. Nature Communications, doi: 10.1038/ncomms8000.