Do viruses cause obesity?

Many obese people like to look at external sources for their obesity. Strike that. Many obese people like to look at external sources for their obesity that they cannot control. A news report hit the wires today describing research concerning the adenoviridae virus and the manufacture of fat cells.


Before we dig into the actual research, you need to know that the adenoviridae virus comes in 40 different flavors and primarily causes upper respiratory infections. It does also cause other nasty things and is usually passed by coughing or sneezing. For this reason it’s known as a cold virus.

Anyway, the researchers were from theĀ Pennington Biomedical Research Center. Studies in the past have shown that 30% of obese people are infected with the virus, while only 10% of non-obese people are infected. I don’t know what the threshold for obesity used in the study.

In this study they took adult stem cells from the remains of a liposection procedure. They took samples and infected them with adenoviridae and left other samples uninfected. The infected adult stem cell samples turned into fat cells, while the uninfected samples stayed the same.

Amazing, right?

They tested the process on animals and the infected animals grew obese. Even after the virus was purged from their system, I don’t know how this was acheived, the animals stayed obese.

Fascinating. The body is an amazing machine that we still don’t understand.