Document Detail

The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal-axis in the regulation of energy balance.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  18275977     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Human (visceral) obesity is associated with alterations hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis functioning. It is however not completely clear whether the HPA axis is causally or co-incidentally related to (visceral) obesity. This review summarizes supporting data of an involvement of the HPA axis in the development of (visceral) obesity. First, several DNA polymorphisms related to HPA axis functioning are correlated to the development of obesity. Second, chronic elevation of circulatory glucocorticoid concentrations, as in Cushing's disease, results in increased abdominal adiposity. Third, (visceral) obesity is associated with a diminished capacity of cortisol to suppress its own secretion. HPA axis functioning might affect energy balance through affecting energy intake. Both CRH and cortisol influence physiological, central mechanisms involved in the regulation of food intake. Still, general activation of the HPA axis has shown to have inconsistent effects on food intake in humans. This inconsistency may partially be explained by gender differences, individual differences in the functioning of the HPA axis, as well as differences in attitude towards eating. In particular, women with high scores on dietary restraint are prone to stress-induced hyperphagia. Dietary restraint scores, in turn, are positively correlated to basal and dexamethasone-suppressed cortisol levels, indicating a complex dual relationship between stress, HPA axis functioning, attitude towards eating and the risk for stress-induced hyperphagia. In the Western society, with chronically high ambient levels of stress and the availability of high caloric foods, this relationship may imply a risk for the development of (visceral) obesity and the metabolic syndrome.
Arie G Nieuwenhuizen; Femke Rutters
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Review     Date:  2007-12-23
Journal Detail:
Title:  Physiology & behavior     Volume:  94     ISSN:  0031-9384     ISO Abbreviation:  Physiol. Behav.     Publication Date:  2008 May 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2008-05-12     Completed Date:  2008-07-22     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0151504     Medline TA:  Physiol Behav     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  169-77     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Human Biology, Maastricht University, P.O. Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands.
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MeSH Terms
Adiposity / physiology
Energy Metabolism / physiology*
Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System / physiology*
Obesity / physiopathology
Pituitary-Adrenal System / physiology*

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