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Clinical research

Adenovirus 36 seropositivity is related to obesity risk, glycemic control, and leptin levels in Chilean subjects



Adenovirus 36 (Ad-36) has been associated to adiposity in animal and in vitro studies. Ad-36 seropositivity has also been reported to contribute to obesity risk in children and adult populations. We investigated the relationship of Ad-36 serology with obesity and metabolic parameters in a Chilean population.

Subjects and methods

Clinical and anthropometric data were obtained and blood samples were drawn from 99 lean (BMI: 18.5–24.9 kg/m2) and 151 obese (BMI > 30 kg/m2) subjects. Laboratory tests included lipid profile as well as glucose, insulin, leptin, and adiponectin levels. Ad-36 seropositivity was evaluated in serum samples by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.


Seroprevalence of Ad-36 was higher in the obese group (58%) than in lean controls (34%) demonstrating that individuals previously infected with Ad-36 have higher risk of obesity in the study population (OR: 2.67, 95%CI: 1.58–4.51, p < 0.001). Interestingly, Ad-36 was related to lower concentrations of triglycerides and VLDL cholesterol in lean subjects (p = 0.049) and lower leptin in obese individuals (p = 0.014). Previous Ad-36 infection was also related to lower glycemia, insulinemia, and HOMA-IR (p < 0.05) in obese subjects who were not under antidiabetic drugs.


Our results provide evidence of the contribution of previous Ad-36 infection to an increased risk of obesity in adult Chilean population. Ad-36 seropositivity was also associated to lipid profile, glycemic control, and leptin levels in adult Chilean population.

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The authors thank the volunteers for their participation in this research. The authors also thank physicians, nurses, and administrative staff from the Centro de Tratamiento de la Obesidad (CTO) and the Laboratorio Clinico of the Clinica Alemana de Temuco. The authors thank Dr. Soledad Reyes and Lilian Saravia for the support in obtaining biological samples. This research was funded by FONDECYT, grant number 11150445.

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Correspondence to Alvaro Cerda.

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Sapunar, J., Fonseca, L., Molina, V. et al. Adenovirus 36 seropositivity is related to obesity risk, glycemic control, and leptin levels in Chilean subjects. Int J Obes 44, 159–166 (2020).

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