Common Virus May Contribute to Obesity

Posted on August 20, 2007  Comments (0)

Common virus may contribute to obesity

Infection with human adenovirus-36 (Ad-36) seems to direct adult stem cells from fat tissue to turn into fat cells, researchers have found in lab experiments. Stem cells not exposed to the virus, in contrast, were unchanged. More importantly, the researchers have identified the specific gene in the virus that appears to be involved in this obesity-promoting effect: E4Orfl.

The field of research investigating the role of viruses in obesity — dubbed “infectobesity” — is still relatively new and experimental. Researchers don’t believe that infection with one of these pathogens is the sole cause of obesity but they say some obesity cases may involve viral infections.

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