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Adv Food Nutr Res. 2007;52:61-102.

Infectobesity: obesity of infectious origin.

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Department of Infections and Obesity, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Louisiana State University System, Baton Rouge, LA 70808, USA.


The rapid increase in obesity and the associated health care costs have prompted a search for better approaches for its prevention and management. Such efforts may be facilitated by better understanding the etiology of obesity. Of the several etiological factors, infection, an unusual causative factor, has recently started receiving greater attention. In the last two decades, 10 adipogenic pathogens were reported, including human and nonhuman viruses, scrapie agents, bacteria, and gut microflora. Some of these pathogens are associated with human obesity, but their causative role in human obesity has not been established. This chapter presents information about the natural hosts, signs and symptoms, and pathogenesis of the adipogenic microorganisms. If relevant to humans, "Infectobesity" would be a relatively novel, yet extremely significant concept. A new perspective about the infectious etiology of obesity may stimulate additional research to assess the contribution of hitherto unknown pathogens to human obesity and possibly to prevent or treat obesity of infectious origins.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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