Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Common Virus May Contribute To Obesity In Some People

Date:
August 21, 2007
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Scientists are reporting new evidence that infection with a common virus may be a contributing factor to the obesity epidemic sweeping through the United States and other countries. In laboratory experiments they showed that infection with human adenovirus-36 (Ad-36), long recognized as a cause of respiratory and eye infections in humans, transforms adult stem cells obtained from fat tissue into fat cells. Stem cells not exposed to the virus, in contrast, were unchanged.

Transmission electron micrograph of an adenovirus.
Credit: CDC/Dr. G. William Gary, Jr.

Scientists are reporting new evidence that infection with a common virus may be a contributing factor to the obesity epidemic sweeping through the United States and other countries. In laboratory experiments they showed that infection with human adenovirus-36 (Ad-36), long recognized as a cause of respiratory and eye infections in humans, transforms adult stem cells obtained from fat tissue into fat cells. Stem cells not exposed to the virus, in contrast, were unchanged.

Related Articles


In addition, the study reported identification of a specific gene in the virus that appears to be involved in this obesity-promoting effect. The findings, which could lead to a vaccine or antiviral medication to help fight viral obesity in the future, were presented at the 234th national meeting of the American Chemical Society.

"We’re not saying that a virus is the only cause of obesity, but this study provides stronger evidence that some obesity cases may involve viral infections," says study presenter Magdalena Pasarica, M.D., Ph.D., of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.

"Not all infected people will develop obesity," she notes. "We would ultimately like to identify the underlying factors that predispose some obese people to develop this virus and eventually find a way to treat it."

Pasarica was part of the original research group which demonstrated that the Ad-36 virus was capable of causing animals infected with the virus to accumulate fat. Led by Nikhil Dhurandhar, Ph.D., now an associate professor at Louisiana State University, the group also conducted a noted epidemiologic study — the first to associate a virus with human obesity — showing 30 percent of obese people were infected with the Ad-36 virus in comparison to 11 percent of lean individuals. But evidence that the virus could actually cause fat levels to increase in human cells was lacking until now, Pasarica says.

In the current study, Pasarica and her associates obtained adult stem cells from fatty tissue from a broad cross-section of patients who had undergone liposuction. Half of the stem cells were exposed to Ad-36 and the other half were not exposed to the virus.

After about a week of growth in tissue culture, most of the virus-infected adult stem cells developed into fat cells, whereas the non-infected stem cells did not, the researchers say.

Funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Dr. Dhurandhar’s group recently identified a gene in the Ad-36 virus that appears to be involved in causing fat accumulation observed in infected animals. That gene, called E4Orfl, is now emerging as a promising target for future human therapies, such as vaccines and anti-viral medicines, aimed at preventing or inhibiting the obesity virus, she says.

The exact mechanism by which the virus might cause obesity in people is currently unknown, says Pasarica, who does not rule out the possibility that other human viruses may also contribute to obesity. Researchers also do not know how long the virus remains in the body of obese individuals nor how long its fat-enhancing effect lasts once the virus is gone. However, Pasarica notes a recent study demonstrated that animals that developed the virus remained obese up to six months after their infection was gone. More studies are needed, especially in humans, she adds.

Pasarica and her associates are now in the process of trying to identify the factors that predispose some people with the virus to develop obesity while others do not, but results of this investigation are not yet available, they say.

About 97 million adults in the United States are overweight or obese, according to NIH, and face an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, and other health disorders. Obesity has many established causes that include over-eating, eating high-fat foods, lack of exercise, a genetic predisposition and certain medications.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Common Virus May Contribute To Obesity In Some People." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 August 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070820103224.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2007, August 21). Common Virus May Contribute To Obesity In Some People. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070820103224.htm
American Chemical Society. "Common Virus May Contribute To Obesity In Some People." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070820103224.htm (accessed April 21, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Humanoid Robot Can Recognise and Interact With People

Humanoid Robot Can Recognise and Interact With People

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Apr. 20, 2015) An ultra-realistic humanoid robot called &apos;Han&apos; recognises and interprets people&apos;s facial expressions and can even hold simple conversations. Developers Hanson Robotics hope androids like Han could have uses in hospitality and health care industries where face-to-face communication is vital. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Labour Party Warns Britain's Health Service 'on Life Support'

Labour Party Warns Britain's Health Service 'on Life Support'

AFP (Apr. 20, 2015) Britain&apos;s opposition Labour Party Monday claimed the National Health Service (NHS) was &apos;on life support&apos; as it turned its attention to the state-run service, which is a key issue for the UK&apos;s May 7 general election. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Students Back to School After Long Ebola Closure

Sierra Leone Students Back to School After Long Ebola Closure

Reuters - News Video Online (Apr. 20, 2015) After an eight-month break, children in Sierra Leone return to school for the first time since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak. Nathan Frandino reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Teen E-Cigarette Use Triples, Government Debates Regulations

Teen E-Cigarette Use Triples, Government Debates Regulations

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2015) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says in 2014, 13.4 percent of high school students reported smoking an e-cigarette within 30 days. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins