Stress does not affect ghrelin secretion in obese and normal weight women

  • Gundula R. R. KiesslEmail author
  • Reinhold G. Laessle
Original Article


Stress has been supposed to increase appetite. The biological basis of this phenomenon may be a stress-induced alteration of the secretion of GUT peptides such as ghrelin. Stress-induced changes in ghrelin secretion could be a biological basis of overeating and a factor contributing to the development of obesity. Aim of the study was to analyze the effect of acute psychosocial stress on ghrelin secretion in obese and normal weight women. We compared pre- and postprandial plasma ghrelin secretion of 42 obese and 43 normal weight women in a randomized crossover design. Ghrelin and cortisol concentrations were measured and ratings of stress were also recorded in response to a psychological stressor (Trier Social Stress Test, TSST). Ghrelin samples were collected in the fasting state one time before participating in the TSST and one time before a control session. After the TSST, respectively, control session participants had a standardized ad libitum meal. 30 and 60 min after the TSST, respectively, control session preprandial ghrelin was measured again. Obese women showed lower pre- and postprandial release of ghrelin than normal weight controls. Moreover, obese women showed inhibited postprandial decrease of ghrelin secretion. Stress did not affect postprandial ghrelin secretion, but inhibited food intake in all subjects. The present data provide further evidence of altered ghrelin release in obesity. Acute stress did not affect postprandial ghrelin secretion, but inhibited food intake in all subjects. Results are discussed with regard to biological and psychological regulation of hunger and satiety in obesity.


Ghrelin Stress Obesity Women 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

The study was approved by the ethics committee of the University of Trier in April 2012.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological and Clinical PsychologyUniversity of TrierTrierGermany
  2. 2.Department of Biological and Clinical PsychologyUniversity of TrierTrierGermany

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