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Just like us, social stress prompts hamsters to overeat, gain weight

noted Bartness, Rats and mice, which eat less under stress, have a different primary stress hormone, corticosterone. This raises the question of whether stress-induced increases in cortisol play a more important role in the desire to eat and weight gain compared to corticosterone.

Researchers will also want to know if drugs can block stress-induced obesity, for example, by blocking the release of the stress hormone, corticotrophin releasing factor (CRF), or by blocking the body's CRF receptors, Bartness said. CRF, also sometimes referred to as corticotrophin releasing hormone, produces the body's "fight or flight" response under stress and helps kick off a cascade of physiological responses.

"There are a whole suite of physiological responses that occur as a result of stress," Bartness said. It will take time to unravel all these physiological responses and to use that knowledge to block stress-induced obesity. It may even turn out that the reactions are too complex to easily block, he said.


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Source:American Physiological Society


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