Int J Endocrinol Metab 2019 Apr 20;17(2):e67400. Epub 2019 Apr 20.
Nutrition and Metabolic Diseases Research Center, Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran.
Context: Psychological stress can be considered a risk factor for the initiation and progression of many pathological conditions, including type 1 and 2 diabetes mellitus and cancer.
Objectives: The aim of this review article was to evaluate the molecular and cellular mechanisms linking psychological stress to the onset and progression of diabetes and cancer.
Evidence Acquisition: The current review was conducted to survey and analyze studies related to the effects of psychological stress on diabetes and cancer.
Results: Psychological stress may make individuals prone to the development of diabetes through the impairment of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis function, sympathetic nerves system (SNS), lipid profile, cytokines balance, renin-angiotensin system (RAS), and insulin signaling pathway. Additionally, psychological stress can contribute to the development of cancer through the perturbation in the HPA axis, SNS function, and cytokines balance. Psychological stress is also capable of decreasing the levels of oxytocin and dopamine, leading to an increased risk of cancer in susceptible individuals.
Conclusions: It seems that psychological stress plays a significant role in the onset and progression of diabetes and cancer. The identification of the pathways triggered by psychological stress would open up a new avenue for the understanding of molecular mechanisms by which diabetes and cancer could be managed or even prevented.