NUCB2/nesfatin-1 is an anorexigenic peptide hormone first known for its effects on energy homeostasis. More recently, a growing evidence suggests a role of NUCB2/nesfatin-1 in emotion regulation, particularly in the modulation of anxiety, depression and emotional stress response. Since stress-related mood disorders are often comorbid with obesity, we investigated the effect of acute psychosocial stress on circulating NUCB2/nesfatin-1 in obese women and normal-weight controls and its association with symptoms of anxiety. Forty women, 20 obese and 20 normal-weight controls, (aged between 27 and 46 years) were exposed to the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST). We assessed changes of plasma NUCB2/nesfatin-1, salivary cortisol, heart rate and subjective emotional state. Symptoms of anxiety (GAD-7), depressiveness (PHQ-9), perceived stress (PSQ-20), disordered eating (EDE-Q, EDI-2) and health-related quality of life (SF-8) were measured psychometrically. Obese women were further subdivided in a high and low anxiety group. Women with obesity displayed higher psychopathology compared to normal-weight controls. The TSST induced a biological and psychological stress response in both groups (p < 0.001). In normal-weight controls NUCB2/nesfatin-1 increased in response to stress (p = 0.011) and decreased during recovery (p < 0.050), while in obese women only the decrease during recovery was significant (p = 0.002). Obese women with high anxiety displayed higher NUCB2/nesfatin-1 levels than those in the low anxiety group (TSST: +34 %, p = 0.008; control condition: +52 %, p = 0.013).

Our data substantiate the involvement of NUCB2/nesfatin-1 in the modulation of stress and anxiety. It remains unclear whether the attenuated stress response in obese subjects is due to metabolic changes or mental comorbidity.

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Journal: Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2023 Sep 1;155:106325

Keywords: anxiety, emotion regulation, Heart Rate, NUCB2/nesfatin-1, obesity, stress,

Applications: Heart Rate,

CamNtech Reference: AH23022

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