For the first time, the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry and the University Hospital Bonn have had the ability to directly linked a stress factor in the brain to the cell''s recycling system and obesity. This may be the basis for a completely new approach to treat stress-induced metabolic diseases.
The protein FKBP51 is linked to depression and anxiety disorders, and this protein is involved in the regulation of the stress response system, causing mental illness to develop. Using this protein, researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry and the University Hospital Bonn have discovered a significant new feature. Autophagy, the central mechanism of the cellular waste recycling process
Autophagy is the cell''s recycling program that rids old or damaged proteins. As such, it may counteract aging processes and - as we have now shown - reduce obesity, according to Narciss Gassen, the head of the UKB''s research group. "The fact that FKBP51 in the brain is a master regulator of autophagy, and thus obesity, reveals a number of new intervention possibilities, from pharmacological manipulation of FKBP51 to fasting diets or
Stress resilience for everyone
The possibilities of these new findings are quite diverse. Especially today, as a result of the ongoing worldwide epidemic, it becomes clear how uncontrollable stress can affect our psyche and our body. Processes such as autophagy may be positively influenced by an active lifestyle and a healthy diet. Gassen and Schmidt are therefore developing further collaborations aimed to provide information on how each individual can increase their autophagy and thus their individual stress resilience.