“Infectobesity: viral infections (especially with human adenovirus-36: Ad-36) may be a cause of obesity

V.J.T. van Ginneken, L. Sitnyakowsky, J.E. Jeffery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In recent years viral infections have been recognized as possible cause of obesity, alongside the traditionally recognized causes (genetic inheritance, and behaviour/environmental causes such as diet exercise, cultural practices and stress). Although four viruses have been reported to induce obesity (infectoobesity) in animal models (chickens, mice, sheep, goat, dogs, rats and hamsters), until recently the viral etiology of human obesity has not received sufficient attention, possibly because the four viruses are not able to infect humans. In a series of papers over the last ten years, however, the group of Prof. Dhurandhar (Pennington Biomedical Research Center, LA, USA) demonstrated that a human adenovirus, adenovirus-36 (Ad-36), is capable of inducing adiposity in experimentally infected chickens, mice and non-human primates (marmosets). Ad-36 is known to increase the replication, differentiation, lipid accumulation and insulin sensitivity in fat cells and reduces those cells’ leptin secretion and expression. It also affects human primary preadipocytes. In rats increased adiposity was observed due to Ad-36 infection. Recent studies have shown that, in the USA, antibodies to Ad-36 were more prevalent in obese subjects (30%) than in non-obese subjects (11%). We postulate that Ad-36 may be a contributing factor to the worldwide rising problem of obesity. We suggest the extension of comparative virological studies between North America and Europe, and studies between discordant twins (both dizygous and monozygous)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-388
JournalMedical Hypotheses
Volume72
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Keywords

  • canine-distemper virus
  • metabolic syndrome
  • national-health
  • us adults
  • prevalence
  • overweight
  • adiposity
  • disease
  • model
  • preadipocytes

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