Temporal sensitivity to multisensory stimuli has been shown to be reduced in obesity. We sought to investigate the possible role of the pro-inflammatory state on such alteration, considering the effect of the expression of markers, such as leptin and IL6, which are notably high in obesity. The performance of 15 male individuals affected by obesity and 15 normal-weight males was compared using two audiovisual temporal tasks, namely simultaneity judgment and temporal order judgment. Analyses of serum levels of inflammatory markers of leptin and IL6, and of neurotrophic factors of BDNF and S100SB were quantified. At the behavioral level we confirmed previous evidence showing poorer temporal sensitivity in obesity compared to normal-weight participants. Furthermore, leptin, that is a cytokine overexpressed in obesity, represented the best predictor of behavioral differences between groups in both tasks. The hypothesis we put forward is that the immune system, rather than overall cerebral dysfunction, might contribute to explain the altered temporal sensitivity in obesity. The present finding is discussed within the context of the role of cytokines on the brain mechanisms supporting temporal sensitivity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas