A team of researchers, led by a UC Davis veterinary endocrinologist, has shown for the first time that a surgical procedure in rats that is similar to bariatric surgery in humans can delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. The researchers also have identified biochemical changes caused by the surgeries that may be responsible for that delay.
Findings from the study, published online in the journal Gastroenterology, should help researchers identify strategies for preventing and treating type 2 diabetes, a chronic condition in which the body is unable to properly metabolize sugar and fat, leading to serious complications including heart disease, blindness and kidney failure.
Type 2 diabetes affects more than 21 million people in the United States, where it results in more than $150 billion in direct and indirect annual costs, according to the National Institutes of Health.
“Bariatric surgery currently is considered to be the most effective long-term treatment for human obesity and often leads to marked improvements in diabetes,” said the study’s lead author Peter Havel, a professor with joint appointments in the School of Veterinary Medicine and Department of Nutrition.
“It has been thought that reduction of blood sugar, which indicates a reversal of type 2 diabetes, in patients following bariatric surgery was due to post-surgery weight loss,” Havel said. “This study, however, supports the observations from a number of earlier clinical studies reporting that diabetes is often improved prior to substantial weight loss. It also suggests that endocrine changes in hormones produced by the gastrointestinal tract may contribute to the early effects of bariatric surgery, in addition to the later effects of weight loss.”
“This study confirms our clinical observations that metabolic regulation — specifically homeostasis of glucose — occurs quickly after gastric bypass surgery,” said Mohamed Ali, an associate professor of gastrointestinal surgery and a specialist in bariatric surgery at UC Davis Health System. “It’s clear from the outcome that something physiologic is at work with controlling diabetes that is not related to weight loss.
“UC Davis has the perfect environment for collaboration between basic and clinical scientists to take this discovery to the next step, which is identifying the molecular signals that set these physiologic changes in motion,” said Ali, who was not a participant in this study, but has collaborated with Havel on previous research.
Source: UC Davis