Hypermetabolic Syndrome as a Consequence of Repeated Psychological Stress in Mice
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Stress is a powerful modulator of neuroendocrine, behavioral, and immunological functions. After 4.5-d repeated combined acoustic and restraint stress as a murine model of chronic psychological stress, severe metabolic dysregulations became detectable in female BALB/c mice. Stress-induced alterations of metabolic processes that were found in a hepatic mRNA expression profiling were verified by in vivo analyses. Repeatedly stressed mice developed a hypermetabolic syndrome with the severe loss of lean body mass, hyperglycemia, dyslipidemia, increased amino acid turnover, and acidosis. This was associated with hypercortisolism, hyperleptinemia, insulin resistance, and hypothyroidism. In contrast, after a single acute stress exposure, changes in expression of metabolic genes were much less pronounced and predominantly confined to gluconeogenesis, probably indicating that metabolic disturbances might be initiated already early but will only manifest in repeatedly stressed mice. Thus, in our murine model, repeated stress caused severe metabolic dysregulations, leading to a drastic reduction of the individual's energy reserves. Under such circumstances stress may further reduce the ability to cope with new stressors such as infection or cancer.
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