Catecholamines and Obesity: Effects of Exercise and Training

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Excess body fat in obese individuals can affect the catecholamine response to various stimuli. Indeed, several studies report lower plasma catecholamine concentrations in obese subjects compared with nonobese subjects in response to submaximal or maximal exercise. This low catecholamine response reflects decreased sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activity. Although the relationship between the SNS and obesity is not well established, some authors have suggested that low SNS activity may contribute to the development of obesity. A decreased catecholamine response could affect α- and β-adrenoceptor sensitivity in adipose tissue, reducing lipolysis and increasing fat stores. Few studies have examined the effects of obesity on the plasma catecholamine response at rest and during exercise in adolescents. It is interesting to note that the effects of age, sex, and degree of obesity and the impact of very intense exercise on the catecholamine response have not yet been well examined. Moreover, the hormonal concentrations measured in the majority of obesity studies did not take into account plasma volume changes. This methodological factor can also undoubtedly influence plasma catecholamine results.

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