Body fat can Send Signals to Brain and Affect the Stress Response
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The brain’s effect on the body has been well established, and researchers at the University of Florida have now found body fat can send signals impacting how the brain deals with stress and metabolism.
The nature of those signals remains a mystery. The researchers say knowing the pathway exists can help to learn how to handle stress and maintain healthy metabolism. Scientists are realizing that stress increases the desire to eat, leading to obesity, and obesity can impair the body’s ability to send a signal to the brain to shut off the stress response.
Findings were published in the June edition of the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology.
The research is based on mouse models where researchers found steroid hormones known as glucocorticoids activate receptors within fat tissue in a way that impacts the metabolic stress response. They have found a connection between glucocorticoid signaling in fat tissue and the brain’s regulation of energy balance and stress response.
Glucocorticoid signaling is crucial in regulating the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, and fat tissue can directly affect central nervous system functions that link obesity, metabolic disease and stress-related problems.
Researchers are saying fat-to-brain signaling is a first step toward being able to influence the broad, complex relationship between stress, obesity and metabolism.