Metabolic syndrome: psychosocial, neuroendocrine, and classical risk factors in type 2 diabetes

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2007 Oct;1113:256-75. doi: 10.1196/annals.1391.015. Epub 2007 May 18.


This article summarizes some aspects of stress in the metabolic syndrome at the psychosocial, tissue, and cellular levels. The metabolic syndrome is a valuable research concept for studying population health and social-biological translation. The cluster of cardiovascular risk factors labeled the metabolic syndrome is linked with low socioeconomic status. Systematic differences in diet and physical activity contribute to social patterning of the syndrome. In addition, psychosocial factors including chronic work stress are linked with its development. Psychosocial factors could lead to metabolic perturbations and increase cardiovascular risk via activation of neuroendocrine responses, for example, in the autonomic nervous system and in several hormonal pathways. High glucocorticoid levels will promote lipid storage in visceral rather than subcutaneous adipose tissue. Adipocytes secrete several proinflammatory cytokines, which considered major contributors to increase in oxidants and cell injury. Upregulation of heme oxygenase 1 (HO-1) and peroxidase in the early development of diabetes produces a decrease in oxidative-mediated injury. Increased HO activity is associated with a significant decrease in superoxide, endothelial cell shedding and blood pressure. Finally, it is proposed that overexpression of glutathione peroxidase in beta cells may protect beta cell deterioration from oxidative stress during development of diabetes and hyperglycemia and this may result in attenuation of beta cell failure. If this proves to be the case, then the scene will be set to develop glutathione peroxidase mimetics for use in preclinical and clinical trials.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / etiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / genetics
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Syndrome / metabolism*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Metabolic Syndrome / psychology*
  • Neurosecretory Systems / metabolism*
  • Neurosecretory Systems / physiopathology*
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology
  • Risk Factors