In a new study, scientists led by Professor Carmen Sandi at EPFL, have found a biological connection explaining why there is an increased predisposition to develop obesity and being less sociable in individuals that have experienced stress during early puberty.

Between the end of childhood and the beginning of adolescence, there is a critical window of time referred to as “peripuberty”. This transitional period involves developmental changes in both fat tissue and in the brain in which both can be re-programmed by exposure to stress which can cause long-lasting changes in the size of fat cells (adipocytes) size and composition, as well as social behavior.

In a new study, the scientists have found that stress during the peripubertal period leads to increases in adipose tissue in the individual’s body. Although previous studies have shown this connection, there has been little in the way of identifying a biological link between the increase of adipose tissue seen in peripuberty and social impairment.

The study is published in Science Advances.

References: ReferencesLaia Morato, Simone Astori, Ioannis Zalachoras, Joao Rodrigues, Sriparna Ghosal, Wei Huang, Isabelle Guillot de Suduiraut, Jocelyn Grosse, Olivia Zanoletti, Lei Cao, Johan Auwerx, Carmen Sandi. eNAMPT actions through nucleus accumbens NAD+/SIRT1 link increased adiposity with sociability deficits programmed by peripuberty stress. Science Advances 02 March 2022.  DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abj9109

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