Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Obesity And Insomnia Linked By Excitability Of Brain Cells

Date:
April 13, 2005
Source:
Yale University
Summary:
A possible link between lack of sleep (insomnia) and obesity has been traced to hypocretin/orexin cells in the hypothalamus region of the brain that are easily excited and sensitive to stress, Yale School of Medicine researchers report in the April issue of Cell Metabolism.

A possible link between lack of sleep (insomnia) and obesity has been traced to hypocretin/orexin cells in the hypothalamus region of the brain that are easily excited and sensitive to stress, Yale School of Medicine researchers report in the April issue of Cell Metabolism.

"If these neurons are over-activated by environmental or mental stress in daily situations, they may support sustained arousal, triggering sleeplessness, leading to overeating," said lead author Tamas Horvath, associate professor in the Departments of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences (Ob/Gyn) and Neurobiology at Yale School of Medicine. "The more stress you have, the lower the threshold becomes for exciting these hypocretin neurons."

Horvath and co-author Xiao-Bing Gao, assistant professor in Ob/Gyn, studied hypocretin/orexin neurons in mice using electrophysiology and electron microscopy. They found a unique, previously un-described organization of inputs on hypocretin neurons in which excitatory nerve junctions outnumber inhibitory contacts by almost 10 fold. Stressors such as fasting further excite these neurons.

"This unique wiring and acute stress-induced plasticity of the hypocretin neurons correlates well with its involvement in the control of arousal and alertness, which are vital to survival," said Horvath. "But it may also be an underlying cause of insomnia and associated metabolic disturbances, including obesity. In addition, insomnia is characteristic of perimenopause (early onset of menopause), which may lead to increased prevalence of obesity in postmenopausal women."

Previous studies demonstrated the association between lack of sleep and obesity and suggested a good night's sleep to help obesity. Horvath found that the neurological basis of the link between obesity and insomnia make them both independent and related products of the overactivated hypocretin system. Therefore, he said, "people with weight and sleep problems could benefit from cutting back on stressful aspects of their lives, rather than trying to specifically medicate either insomnia or obesity."

Obesity and metabolic disorders are a major cause of death and illness in the United States, with one of the highest financial burdens on the health care system.

###

Citation: Cell Metabolism Vol. 1, Issue 4 (April 2005).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Yale University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Yale University. "Obesity And Insomnia Linked By Excitability Of Brain Cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 April 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/04/050412213440.htm>.
Yale University. (2005, April 13). Obesity And Insomnia Linked By Excitability Of Brain Cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/04/050412213440.htm
Yale University. "Obesity And Insomnia Linked By Excitability Of Brain Cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/04/050412213440.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) Liberia's finance minister is urging the international community to quickly follow through on pledges of cash to battle Ebola. Bodies are piling up in the capital Monrovia as the nation awaits more help. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) A Florida doctor who helped fight the expanding Ebola outbreak in West Africa says the disease can be stopped, but only if nations quickly step up their response and make border control a priority. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) More than 100 tons of medical supplies were sent to West Africa on Saturday, but aid workers say the global response is still sluggish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins