The pathogenesis of autoimmune Addison's disease (AAD) is thought to be due to interplay of genetic, immune, and environmental factors. A month-of-birth effect, with increased risk for those born in autumn/winter months, has been described in autoimmune conditions such as type 1 diabetes and autoimmune thyroid disease.Objective:
Month-of-birth effect was investigated in 2 independent cohorts of AAD subjects.Design, Setting, and Patients:
The monthly distribution of birth in AAD patients was compared with that of the general population using the cosinor test. A total of 415 AAD subjects from the United Kingdom cohort were compared with 8 180 180 United Kingdom births, and 231 AAD subjects from the Polish cohort were compared with 2 421 384 Polish births.Main Outcome Measures:
Association between month of birth and the susceptibility to AAD.Results:
In the entire cohort of AAD subjects, month-of-birth distribution analysis showed significant periodicity with peak of births in December and trough in May (P = .028). Analysis of the odds ratio distribution based on month of birth in 2 cohorts of patients with AAD versus the general population revealed a December peak and May trough, and January peak and July trough, in the United Kingdom and Polish cohorts, respectively.Conclusion:
For the first time, we demonstrate that month of birth exerts an effect on the risk of developing AAD, with excess risk in individuals born in winter months and a protective effect when born in the summer. Exposure to seasonal viral infections in the perinatal period, coupled with vitamin D deficiency, could lead to dysregulation of innate immunity affecting the risk of developing AAD.