Stress inhibits PYY secretion in obese and normal weight women

Eat Weight Disord. 2016 Jun;21(2):245-9. doi: 10.1007/s40519-015-0231-y. Epub 2015 Oct 24.


The impact of stress on circulating levels of appetite-regulating hormones remains largely unknown. The aim of this study was to analyze the effect of acute psychosocial stress on the gut hormone peptide YY (PYY) secretion in obese and normal weight women. Therefore, we compared pre- and post-prandial plasma PYY secretion of 42 obese and 43 normal weight women in a repeated measure randomized controlled laboratory experiment. PYY and cortisol concentrations were measured and ratings of stress and satiety were also recorded in response to a psychological stressor (Trier Social Stress Test, TSST). PYY samples were collected in the fasting state both before participating in the TSST and before a control session. Participants had a standardized meal after the TSST and control session, respectively. PYY was measured both 30 and 60 min after the TSST and control session, respectively. Stress inhibited PYY secretion as well as food intake in all women, but did not influence subjective satiety perception. The present data indicate that despite of lower PYY levels the subjects' requirement to overeat was not increased. From an evolutionary perspective this finding is adaptive. After stress the organism is prepared for fight or flight reaction, whereas not primarily necessary functions are inhibited. Therefore, increased food intake during stress would be dysfunctional.

Keywords: Eating behavior; Obesity; PYY; Stress.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Eating / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / analysis
  • Obesity / blood*
  • Obesity / psychology
  • Peptide YY / blood*
  • Postprandial Period / physiology
  • Saliva / chemistry
  • Satiation / physiology
  • Stress, Psychological / blood*
  • Young Adult


  • Peptide YY
  • Hydrocortisone