The role of infection on obesity development has been questioned since the early 1980's. Several studies on animals have shown that physiopathologic mechanisms through which infections can produce obesity do exist. At least eight types of obesity-inducing viruses have been identified in animals, especially poultry and mice. Studies on humans are far less convincing; however, two adenoviruses, Ad-36 and SMAM-1, have shown adipogenic properties. In vitro studies with 3T3-L1 cells stated the activation of the enzymatic pathway that leads to fatty tissue accumulation; in vivo studies have also detected higher levels of antibodies against such viruses on obese subjects. Although most known infections nowadays cause obesity through central nervous system lesions, the Ad-36 adenovirus infection affects fatty tissue directly, raising doubts regarding central role component in this case.
Suplicy Hde L, Bornschein A. Infeccions as the etiology for obesity. Arq Bras Endocrinol Metabol. 2009 March Serviço de Endocrinologia e Metabologia, Hospital das Clínicas, Universidade Federal do Paraná, Rua Agostinho Leão Jr. 285, Curitiba, PR, Brazil.