February 11, 2016
1 min read

Cytomegalovirus linked to metabolic dysfunction in adults without obesity

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A weak but statistically significant relationship was found between cytomegalovirus and metabolic dysfunction adults without obesity.

“In contrast, [cytomegalovirus] was not associated with metabolic health in obese participants, and there was no association between obesity and [cytomegalovirus],” the researchers wrote.

Mark Hamer, PhD, a professor at the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, United Kingdom, and colleagues evaluated data from the Understanding Society — the UK Household Longitudinal Study on 9,517 adults (mean age, 52.4 years; 55.3% women) to determine the links between cytomegalovirus (CMV), obesity and metabolic characteristics.

Nearly half of participants (47.5%) had a positive CMV test. No link was found between CMV and BMI. After adjustment for age and sex, CMV was associated with metabolic health; this association no longer existed after further adjustment. Increased odds for being CMV-positive was found among participants who were unhealthy but not obese. HbA1c and HDL were positively associated with CMV. Higher odds for cardiovascular disease were associated with CMV (OR = 1.67; 95% CI, 1.07-2.6).

“We identified a weak by statistically significant association between CMV and metabolic dysfunction in nonobese adults, but not in their obese counterparts,” the researchers wrote. “We speculate that in the nonobese CMV infection may drive metabolic dysfunction, whereas in the obese population excess adiposity is the main cause of metabolic disturbance. As any associations observed with metabolic risk factors were weak, our findings do not justify universal screening of CMV to prevent diabetes, although there appears to be a stronger association between CMV and CVD.” – by Amber Cox

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.