Evidence for an association of a virus with obesity in humans

N. V. Dhurandhar, A. Augustus, R. L. Atkinson

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9 Scopus citations


We previously repotted that an avian adenovirus SMAM-1 as well as a human adenovirus Ad-36 produce visceral obesity with paradoxically low serum cholesterol (CHOL) and triglycerides (TG) in chickens. We screened sera of 105 obese and 23 lean human volunteers (Body Mass Index (BMI) ≥ 27 and < 27 kg / M2, respectively) for the presence of antibodies to Ad-36 using serum neutralization tests. Eighteen percent of the obese but none of the lean subjects had neutralizing antibodies to Ad-36. About 30 variables were compared between seropositive (N = 19) and seronegative (N = 86) obese subjects. Some of the values were: Obese seropositive Obese seronegative p BMI 42.8±2.5 43.2±1.0 NS CHOL(mg/dL) 185±7.1 213±4.7 00032 TG (mg/dL) 104±10.2 155±8.7 0.0005 LDL-CHOL (mg/dL) 121±5.2 137±4.1 0.0185 None of the other variables compared (including anthropometric measurements and biochemical parameters) was statistically different. Specificity of neutralization of Ad-36 by antibodies was tested in different ways. Serum neutralization was performed using 5 obese seropositive samples and Ad-31, an unrelated human adenovirus. None of the samples with antibodies to Ad-36 neutralized Ad-31. Also, neutralization of Ad-36 was attempted using 15 serum samples from patients with confirmed acute adenovirus infection None of the 15 samples (despite high adenovirus antibody titer) could neutralize Ad-36 These data show that antibodies to Ad-36 were present only in the obese subjects and the obese seropositive subjects had lipid profiles similar to that of Ad-36 infected chickens. We conclude that Ad-36 may be associated with the development of human obesity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)A230
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1997


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