The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus may directly infect adipocytes and specific immune cells in adipose tissue, according to the New York Times.
In a study published October 25 in the bioRxiv pre-published article database, scientists tested fat tissue from bariatric surgery to see if it could be infected with the corona virus. They found that fat cells known as adipocytes could become infected and cause mild inflammation. They also found that the immune cells inside the adipose tissue, called macrophages, also became infected and triggered a very strong inflammatory response.
The researchers examined the adipose tissue of patients who had died of Covid 19 infections and found particles of the coronavirus in fats that surrounded various parts of the body. Viruses such as HIV and the flu can hide in adipose tissue to hide from the immune system. According to experts, SARS-CoV-2 may do the same thing, turning fat into a reservoir for the virus.
New research has not yet been reviewed by experts or published in a scientific journal; But assuming the results are plausible, Philip Scherer, a scientist who studies fat cells at the University of Texas at Southwestern Medical Center and did not participate in the study, concluded: “The corona virus can directly infect fat cells.”
Live Science previously reported that from the earliest days of the world, obese people were at higher risk of developing severe symptoms, hospitalization, and death from Covid 19. There are various theories as to why fat increases the risk of bad consequences.
Excess fat in the abdomen can put pressure on the diaphragm and restrict airflow into the lungs. If people normally have trouble getting enough oxygen to their lungs, their condition may get worse during Covid 19.
The blood of obese people is usually more easily clotted than the blood of those with lower fat levels, and this is another important problem with Covid 19 that can cause the blood to clot more widely.
As fat accumulates in the body, fat cells invade the spleen, bone marrow, and thymus, where many immune cells are produced. This can weaken the immune system both by reducing the number and by reducing the efficiency of the immune cells produced.
Excess fat can also cause mild chronic inflammation throughout the body; Because fat cells release inflammatory substances called cytokines, macrophages do the same thing in an effort to clear dead fat cells from the body.
While various factors may worsen the consequences of Covid 19 for obese people, there is now new evidence that the virus also infects fat cells directly. “It can help with serious illness,” said Dr. Catherine Blish, an immunologist and professor of medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine. “We see the same inflammatory cytokines that I see in the blood of critically ill people that are produced in response to infection in adipose tissue.”