Glucocorticoids, stress and eating: The mediating role of appetite-regulating hormones

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Disrupted hormonal appetite signaling plays a crucial role in obesity as it may lead to uncontrolled reward-related eating. Such disturbances can be induced not only by weight gain itself but also by glucocorticoid overexposure, for example, due to chronic stress, disease, or medication use. However, the exact pathways are just starting to be understood. Here, we present a conceptual framework of how glucocorticoid excess may impair hormonal appetite signaling and, consequently, eating control in the context of obesity. The evidence we present suggests that counteracting glucocorticoid excess can lead to improvements in appetite signaling and may therefore pose a crucial target for obesity prevention and treatment. In turn, targeting hormonal appetite signals may not only improve weight management and eating behavior but may also decrease detrimental effects of glucocorticoid excess on cardio-metabolic outcomes and mood. We conclude that gaining a better understanding of the relationship between glucocorticoid excess and circulating appetite signals will contribute greatly to improvements in personalized obesity prevention and treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13539
JournalObesity Reviews
Issue number3
Early online date8 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding information: Netherlands Organization of Scientific Research (NWO), Grant/Award Number: 91716453; Elisabeth Foundation

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Obesity Reviews published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of World Obesity Federation.


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