Lack of evidence for the role of human adenovirus-36 in obesity in a European cohort
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Adenovirus infection has been shown to increase adiposity in chickens, mice, and nonhuman primates. Adenovirus type 36 (Ad-36) DNA was detected in adipose tissues in these animal trials. In the United States, Ad-36 significantly correlates with obesity as illustrated by an Ad-36 seroprevalence of 30% in obese individuals and 11% in nonobese individuals. We investigated the possibility of a similar correlation of Ad-36 in Dutch and Belgian persons. In total, 509 serum samples were analyzed for Ad-36 antibodies using a serum neutralization assay. In addition, PCR was used to detect adenoviral DNA in visceral adipose tissue of 31 severely obese surgical patients. Our results indicated an overall Ad-36 seroprevalence of 5.5% increasing with age. BMI of Ad-36 seropositive humans was not significantly different from seronegative humans. No adenoviral DNA could be found using PCR on visceral adipose tissue. In conclusion, this first Ad-36 study in the Netherlands and in Belgium indicates that Ad-36 does not play a role as a direct cause of BMI increase and obesity in humans in Western Europe.