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Upending daily rhythm triggers fat cell growth

Always-on stress hormones encourage adipose production

By
11:14am, December 18, 2015
obese person's waist

CELLS INTERRUPTED  Disrupting the body’s daily rhythms can lead to obesity. New research on fat cell development may explain why.

SAN DIEGO — New research may help explain why chronic stress, sleep deprivation and other disruptions in the body’s daily rhythms are linked to obesity.

Chronic exposure to stress hormones stimulates growth of fat cells, Mary Teruel of Stanford University reported December 16 at the annual meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology. Normally, stress hormones, such as cortisol, are released during waking hours in regular bursts that follow daily, or circadian, rhythms. Those regular pulses don’t cause fat growth, Teruel and colleagues discovered. But extended periods of exposure to the hormones, caused by such things as too little sleep, break up that rhythm and lead to more fat cells.

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