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July 18, 1966

Is Autoimmunity a Factor in Obesity?

JAMA. 1966;197(3):22-23. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110030020007

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Autoimmunity may be a factor in. common obesity according to a group of investigators in Louisville, Ky, and St. Louis, Mo.

Speaking to the Research Forum, Irving B. Perlstein, MD, University of Louisville School of Medicine, proposed the following hypothesis for the etiology of obesity:

In certain persons who are predisposed to become obese a particular stress such as surgery or even pregnancy initiates an autoimmune phenomenon. This results in the production of thyroid autoantibodies and an alteration in the thyroid hormone transport system which prevents the tissue uptake of thyroxin, and causes obesity.

Immune studies conducted by Dr. Perlstein and H. T. Blumenthal, MD, and B. N. Premachandra, PhD, Washington University and Veterans Hospital, St. Louis, also suggest that vasculitis demonstrated in the skin of obese persons possibly could be the result of a response to the autoimmune process.

Initially, the thyroid hormone transport system of guinea pigs and

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