Biological link between stress and obesity identified

6 October 2016

A new study has identified evidence of a biological link between stress levels and an elevated risk of obesity.

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem research has isolated a type of microRNA that influences shared biological mechanisms underpinning metabolic and anxiety-related disorders.

It was revealed that anxiety-induced microRNA changes can suppress inflammation while also potentiating metabolic syndrome-related processes, with expression levels differing between various tissues and cells, depending on heredity and exposure to stress.

This discovery opens up a range of possible opportunities to aid the diagnosis and treatment of both metabolic and anxiety-related phenomena.

Professor Hermona Soreq of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem said: "The discovery has a diagnostic value and practical implications … [and] also offers an opportunity to reclassify healthy and unhealthy anxiety and metabolic-prone states, and inform putative strategies to treat these disorders."

It builds on previous research from the same team showing that stress and anxiety can generate an inflammatory response that increases the expression levels of microRNA regulators of inflammation in both the brain and the gut.

Posted by Philip Briggs


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