Adenovirus-36 infection and obesity related hormones in children

Austin Brown, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Obesity has a complex, multi-factorial etiology. Infectious agents have recently emerged as a possible contributor to the current obesity epidemic. Seven viruses have demonstrated an association with obesity in animals; however, Adenovirus-36 (Ad-36) is the only known virus associated with obesity in humans. The primary aim of this research was to determine the association between Ad-36 infection and the expression of obesity related hormones in children. Additionally, this study proposed to compare the mean three year change in the level of obesity related hormones between Ad-36 positive and negative children. This study utilized pilot data collected from 98 children at baseline and year three of the Project Heartbeat! cohort. Fasting serum samples were analyzed for the concentration of adiponectin, insulin and leptin. The crude analysis uncovered Ad-36 positive children had significantly lower mean concentrations of insulin (p=0.039) and leptin (p=0.038) at baseline compared to Ad-36 negative children. The results of the adjusted analysis indicated the leptin association with Ad-36 infection at baseline was statistically significant even after controlling for age, sex, ethnicity, and BMI percentile. The longitudinal evaluation revealed individuals with a history of Ad-36 infection experienced a larger mean decrease in adiponectin, a larger mean increase in leptin, and a smaller mean increase in insulin levels over a three year period compared to individuals without a history of infection. These results suggest Ad-36 infection may produce changes in hormone expression. The only statistically significant findings in the crude and adjusted longitudinal analysis occurred at baseline when the children were younger, suggesting physical changes that occur during sexual maturation may mask or enhance Ad-36 induced changes in hormone expression. Furthermore, the longitudinal analysis revealed the duration and course of Ad-36 infection may influence changes in the expression of obesity-related hormones. Taken together, the results of this pilot study are suggestive of an association between Ad-36 infection and the expression of obesity-related hormones.

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Recommended Citation

Brown, Austin, "Adenovirus-36 infection and obesity related hormones in children" (2011). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1508186.