Glucocorticoid metabolism; a hidden link between obesity and its consequences


  • Dr Ruth Morgan

    University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Project summary

Over 650 million people worldwide are obese and 18 million die annually from complications including diabetes and cardiovascular disease. How obesity results in these serious complications in some, but not all people, is unclear. I will investigate how glucocorticoids (stress hormones) change in response to obesity and how they contribute to the development of complications. I will use pigs fed a high-calorie diet to study the effect of obesity on glucocorticoids. Pigs have very similar stress hormones to humans and like humans, they become obese and develop complications on a high-calorie diet. Importantly, also like humans, some pigs are more at risk of these complications than others. In this study, I will compare the stress hormones and genetics of high and low risk pigs to understand what makes their complications different. Understanding how stress hormones contribute to obesity complications can help identify people most at risk and target treatment appropriately.