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Researchers Discover 'Trigger' For Stress Processes In The Brain

Update Date: Nov 28, 2014 12:19 PM EST

Researchers have discovered a protein secretagogin that plays an important role in the release of the stress hormone CRH. It only then enables stress processes in the brain to be transmitted to the pituitary gland and then onward to the organs, the findings of the study suggested. 

"If, however, the presence of secretagogin, a calcium-binding protein, is suppressed, then CRH (= Corticotropin Releasing Hormone) might not be released in the hypothalamus of the brain thus preventing the triggering of hormonal responses to stress in the body," explained Tibor Harkany of the Department of Molecular Neurosciences at the MedUni Vienna, in the press release.

Chronic stress has dire consequences, for example, it can lead to an increased tendency to suffer from infections but also to high blood pressure, diabetes and an increased risk of cardio-vascular disease right through to chronic headaches, tinnitus or osteoporosis, the press release said.

"Now we have a better understanding of how stress is generated," said Tomas Hökfelt of the Karolinska Institutet and guest professor at the MedUni Vienna in the press release. 

The understanding could be extended to further development where secretagogin is deployed as a tool to treat stress. 

According to the Austrian employees' organisation, international studies show that in Europe over 50 percent of sick leave is attributable to a form of stress, the press release added.

The findings of the study were published in EMBO Journal.

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