Obesity may alter immune system response to COVID-19

obese
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Obesity may cause a hyperactive immune system response to COVID-19 infection that makes it difficult to fight off the virus, according to a new manuscript published in the Endocrine Society's journal, Endocrinology.

Obesity not only leads to problems like and diabetes, but also influences the in many ways. Obesity causes a chronic, low grade activation of some parts of the immune system. When someone with this preexisting condition is faced with an infection, this could lead to hyper-activation of the immune system, but in a detrimental way that does not fight infection.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has made us aware of the complex interactions of obesity with , and the gaps in our understanding of how affect our immune responses to acute infection," said the study's corresponding author, Durga Singer, M.D., of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich. "Recent evidence has highlighted how one part of the immune system, the macrophage, may be a culprit in driving severe COVID-19 disease. Our manuscript focuses on what is already known about the interaction of obesity, macrophages and other infections like influenza. These findings highlight the importance of understanding how obesity might interact with new drugs or vaccines that are developed for COVID-19."

In this review, the authors describe the impact of obesity on the immune system. They discuss the irregular immune responses caused by obesity that drive organ injury in severe COVID-19 infection and impair a person's ability to fight the virus.


Explore further

Follow the latest news on the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

More information: Gabrielle P Huizinga et al. The Collision of Meta-Inflammation and SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic Infection. Endocrinology Published: 03 September 2020. doi.org/10.1210/endocr/bqaa154
Journal information: Endocrinology

Citation: Obesity may alter immune system response to COVID-19 (2020, September 3) retrieved 27 November 2020 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-09-obesity-immune-response-covid-.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
5 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments