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Aug 20, 2007

Virus Turns Adult Stem Cells into Fat Cells

  • Infection with human adenovirus-36 (Ad-36) transforms adult stem cells obtained from fat tissue into fat cells, according to Pennington Biomedical Research Center scientists. They also identified a specific gene in the virus involved in this process.

    Previous studies showed that the Ad-36 virus was capable of causing infected animals to accumulate fat. In the current research, the team obtained adult stem cells from fatty tissue of a broad cross-section of patients who had undergone liposuction. Half of the stem cells were exposed to Ad-36.

    After about a week of growth in tissue culture, most of the virus-infected adult stem cells developed into fat cells, whereas the noninfected stem cells did not.

    Furthermore, the group also identified a gene in the Ad-36 virus, E4Orfl, that appears to cause the fat accumulation observed in infected animals.

    The findings were presented at the “234th national meeting of the American Chemical Society.”



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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

Do you agree that ecstasy should be studied for its potential therapeutic benefits?

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