catching fatness

From: Damien Broderick (
Date: Sat Jul 29 2000 - 21:41:17 MDT

A news report on Oz TV Friday night mentioned a recent announcement
concerning the notion that obesity might be catching (if you're a chook,
anyway)**, via adenovirus 36. Mechanism still unknown, but allegedly lowers
rate of energy use. This link was first mooted three years ago, and I don't
know if the news report means a breakthrough/confirmation, or just
recycling the obvious. Here's something on the earlier work:

An adenovirus linked to obesity

                         Alterations in metabolic pathways manifest
themselves in altered
                         function, regardless of what caused the
alteration. Researchers have
                         reported that chickens notably low in serum
cholesterol and
                         triglycerides, after being infected with human
                         developed visceral obesity to a degree that would
not be expected.

                         Eighteen percent of the obese chickens, and zero
percent of the lean,
                         showed neutralizing antibodies to adenovirus-36.
Repeated results
                         were found in mice infected with human adenovirus

                         When screening human sera for an avian adenovirus
it was found
                         that the body mass index was higher for those
positive for the
                         adenovirus than for those who were negative.

                         Researchers are still in the early stages of
linking at least a portion of
                         obesity cases to an infectious etiology. Questions
still remain
                         regarding the mechanism by which the virus might
                         metabolism and cause increased adiposity.


                         Dhurandhar NV, et. al. 1997. Evidence for an
association of a virus
                         with obesity in humans. The FASEB Journal. Feb.
28, 1997. 11(3).

                         Atkinson RL, et. al. 1997. Production of obesity
in mice with a human
                         virus. The International Journal of Obesity. June.
Vol. 21,
                         Supplement 2.

                         Dhurandhar NV, et. al. 1996. Development of
obesity in chickens
                         after infection with a human adenovirus. Obesity
Research. October.
                         Vol. 4, Supplement 1. Page 248.

                         Dhurandhar NV, et. al. 1992. Screening of human
sera for avian
                         adenovirus antibody. International Congress on
Obesity. Lake
                         Geneva, Wisconsin. July 1994.

                         Dhurandhar NV. 1992. Effect of adenovirus
infection on adiposity in
                         chickens. Veterinary Microbiology, 31:101-107.

Damien Broderick

**a chook is a chicken, a fowl, a pullet, a hen or cock; well, it is in Oz,

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