A New Study Says a Virus Can Cause Obesity – Adenovirus
Ad-37 May Make People Fat
A Virus may be responsible for obesity in some people. Researchers have
found that adenovirus AD-37 causes obesity in chickens. This finding
builds on studies that two related viruses,Ad-36 and Ad-5, cause obesity
in animals. Lead researcher Leah D. Whigham said "Adipogenic potential
of multiple human adenoviruses in vivo and in vitro in animals," in the
January issue of the American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory,
Integrative and Comparative Physiology published by the American
There seems to be an “accumulating evidence” that viruses may cause
obesity, in effect making obesity contagious, according Leah. The
researchers now say “Eat right, exercise, and wash your hands”.
These three viruses, Ad-37, Ad-36 and Ad-5 are part of a family of
approximately 50 viruses know as human adenoviruses. Adenoviruses were
first discovered in 1953 by investigators trying to establish cell-lines
from adenoidal tissue of children removed during tonsillectomy.
According to the Tulane University website, adenoviruses are a “frequent
cause of acute upper respiratory tract (URT) infections.” In 1962, some
adenoviruses were shown to cause tumors in rodents. The viruses are
widespread and are able to infect birds, many mammals and man. There
are two genera, Aviadenovirus (avian) and Mastadenovirus (mammalian).
The next step is for researchers to identify the viruses that cause
human obesity, devise a screening test to identify people who are
infected, and finally develop a vaccine. Frank Greenway, professor in
the Department of Clinical Trials, Pennington Biomedical Research
Center, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge said "If Ad-36 is
responsible for a significant portion of human obesity, the logical
therapeutic intervention would be to develop a vaccine to prevent future
infections. If a vaccine were to be developed, one would want to ensure
that all the serotypes of human adenoviruses responsible for human
obesity were covered in the vaccine."
Researchers are trying to speed the process up by a qualitative /
quantitative analysis of the adenoviruses into their components.
Greenway wrote "If one could predict the potential of an adenovirus to
cause human obesity by using an in vitro assay or even by animal
testing, screening of the approximately 50 human adenoviruses might be
accelerated, shortening the time required for vaccine formulation."
Researchers would like o screen both lean and obese people to determine
the potential for all of the 50 or so adenoviruses to cause obesity.
Best Syndication Staff Writer
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