PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Obesity is a multifactorial disease that is now endemic throughout most of the world. Although addressing proximate causes of obesity (excess energy intake and reduced energy expenditure) have been longstanding global health priorities, the problem has continued to worsen at the global level.
RECENT FINDINGS: Numerous microbial agents cause obesity in various experimental models-a phenomena known as infectobesity. Several of the same agents alter metabolic function in human cells and are associated with human obesity or metabolic dysfunction in humans. We address the evidence for a role in the genesis of obesity for viral agents in five broad categories: adenoviridae, herpesviridae, phages, transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (slow virus), and other encephalitides and hepatitides. Despite the importance of this topic area, there are many persistent knowledge gaps that need to be resolved. We discuss factors motivating further research and recommend that future infectobesity investigation should be more comprehensive, leveraged, interventional, and patient-centered.
- Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy