The bidirectional stress-obesity relation: mediating role of low-grade inflammation and gut microbiota.

01 January 2015 → 31 December 2017
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Natural sciences
    • Biochemistry and metabolism
  • Medical and health sciences
    • Medical biochemistry and metabolism
    • Medical biochemistry and metabolism
    • Medical biochemistry and metabolism
Gut microbiota Inflammation
Project description

Researchers still struggle to understand the complex processes by which psychosocial factors like chronic stress increase disease susceptibility. This project will elucidate mechanistic pathways in the bidirectional stress-obesity relation, i.e. the mediating role of food choice, low-grade inflammation and disturbed gut microbiota. Observational and interventional research will be combined in community samples and clinical samples during childhood: (a) longitudinal pathways in existing cohorts with detailed background information; (b) contrasting groups on depression and overweight to unravel individual risk factors; and (c) two innovating interventions to substantiate new treatments by effects on inflammation, gut microbiota, stress sensitivity and energy-homeostasis i.e. probiotics in depression and emotional regulation training in obesity. We will have detailed gut microbiota sequencing and inflammation-status information; additional metabolomics data; both psychological and biological indicators of the stress status and laboratory induced stress reactivity; objectively measured adiposity parameters. A multidisciplinary and international collaboration with high scientific output is foreseen. Implications are multidisciplinary: (a) Raise public health attention to psychological well-being and a healthy diet; (b) Help basic science to enable mechanistic insights; (c) Inform clinical practice on pharmacological targets, psychological interventions and dietary guidelines.