HealthDay News — Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection may make some women more susceptible to both cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, according to research published online in Obesity.

Shannon Fleck-Derderian, MPH, of the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues examined data on 2,532 individuals nationwide between the ages 20 and 49, from 1999 to 2004. Associations were compared between CMV and signs of metabolic syndrome (MetS) in participants divided into 1 of 4 categories: normal weight, overweight, obese, and extremely obese.

After taking into account other contributing factors such as age, ethnicity, and poverty, the researchers found that 4.9% of normal-weight women infected with CMV had at least 3 risk factors for MetS. But, the same was true for less than 1% of normal-weight women who were not infected. Furthermore, 27.4% of women infected with CMV also had lower levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, compared to 18.6% of the normal-weight women without infection. The investigators found that 56.2% of the extremely obese women infected with CMV had 3 or more risk factors associated with MetS. This compared to 82.6$ of the extremely obese women uninfected. These very obese CMV-infected women also had higher levels of HDL cholesterol and lower levels of triglycerides.

“CMV infection was found to be associated with unique MetS phenotypes that differ between body mass index categories and gender,” the authors write. “Seropositive normal-weight females had a higher prevalence of MetS and dyslipidemia, while infection in females with extreme obesity was associated with a more metabolically benign profile.”

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Fleck-Derderian S, McClellan W, Wojcicki JM. The association betwen cytomegalovirus infection, obesity, and metabolic syndrome in U.S. adult females [published online February 23, 2017]. Obesity. doi: 10.1002/oby.21764