Approaching the shared biology of obesity and depression: The stress axis as the locus of gene-environment interactions

S. R. Bornstein, A. Schuppenies, M. L. Wong, J. Licinio

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

213 Citations (Scopus)


Obesity and depression are serious public health problems and also constitute cardiovascular disease risk factors. Research organizations have called for efforts to explore the interrelationship between obesity and depression. A useful starting point is the fact that in both disorders there is dysregulation of stress systems. We review molecular and clinical evidence indicating that the mediators of the stress response are a key locus for gene-environment interactions in the shared biology of depression and obesity. Scientific milestones include translational paradigms such as mice knockouts, imaging and pharmacogenomic approaches that can identify new therapeutic strategies for those burdened by these two afflictions of contemporary civilization. Perspectives for the future are promising. Our ability to dissect the underpinnings of common and complex diseases with shared substrates will be greatly enhanced by the Genes and Environment Initiative, the emerging Large Scale Studies of Genes and Environment in Common Disease, and the UK Biobank Project.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)892-902
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular psychiatry
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 9 Oct 2006


  • Depression
  • HPA axis
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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