Researchers suggest a disturbance in normal steroid hormone due to stress and other health conditions can lead to obesity. This hormone is mainly glucocorticoid. The human body has a natural circadian rhythm. These patterns are repeated after every twenty-four hours.
At certain times of the day, hormones also rise and fall regularly. Human health suffers if we go against these patterns adjusted in our body. Scientists have linked disturbances in the circadian cycle to obesity, sleeping disorders, stress, and many other problems.
Researchers from Stanford University carried out this research. NIH’S National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases funded this research. This research appears in the journal called Cell Metabolism.
Studying the key factors on a molecular level
Researchers studied why disturbance in glucocorticoid production cycle leads to obesity. Researchers also studied the influence of time on the dose of the hormone given to the mice. Hormone levels increase during the day and fall at night.
Analysts kept the mice on a strict timetable of 12 hours during the day and 12 hours during the night. They observed mice from 7 am to 7 pm sharp during the day. Scientists gave eight weeks old mice a constant dose of the hormone during 24 hours for 21 days.
They gave a placebo to the other group of mice. Scientist observed that amount of fat doubled in mice who consumed the dose of hormone. They also found that the mice given placebo did not develop obesity because of 12-hour variation in glucocorticoid hormone.
Scientists also gave the steroid hormone to one group of mice at 5 pm sharp during the day. They did this to confirm it was the darkness that controlled the body’s ability to develop obesity. Scientists gave the hormone for 21 days. They observed there was no difference in the fat of mice consuming placebo and mice consuming steroid hormone during the day.
Protein PPARG responsible for fat deposition
The researchers also studied the precursor fat cells on a molecular level to determine the effects of glucocorticoid cycle. They established constant steroid dose for 21 days results in a buildup of a protein known as PPARG. Scientists found this protein causes precursor cells to become fat cells.
They further confirmed that this protein readjusts itself during the off period mainly night and fat cells are not formed. Scientists further elaborated that if this off period does not last 12 hours, precursors cells become fat cells. They deduced the circadian cycle mainly regulates these molecules that cause an increase in fat mass.
The future prospect
Researchers have identified the molecules involved that circadian cycle controls. Scientists suggest that people will not gain weight as long as glucocorticoid treatment for chronic conditions occur during the day. They also explained if glucocorticoid treatment occurs at night normal circadian cycle is disturbed and people could significantly gain weight.