Scientists discover clues why weight-loss surgery cures diabetes

July 10, 2014 by Kath Paddison
diabetes

(Medical Xpress)—Scientists at The University of Manchester are a step closer to understanding why diabetes is cured in the majority of patients that undergo gastric bypass surgery.

The research, published in the journal Endocrinology, shows the cure is likely to be explained by the actions of in the intestine that secrete a cocktail of powerful hormones when we eat.

During the research, the team showed that gut hormone cells previously thought to contain just one hormone, had up to six hormones including the hunger hormone ghrelin.

Study team leader, Dr Craig Smith, a Senior Lecturer in Molecular Cell Physiology, said: "Our research centred on enteroendocrine cells that 'taste' what we eat and in response release a cocktail of hormones that communicate with the pancreas, to control to the brain, to convey the sense of being full and to optimize and maximize digestion and absorption of nutrients."

"Under normal circumstances these are all important factors in keeping us healthy and nourished. But these cells may malfunction and result in under or over eating."

75% of people suffering from obesity who also have diabetes are cured of diabetes after receiving a gastric bypass and Dr Smith says that understanding how bypass surgery cures diabetes is the crux of his team's research.

Dr Smith: "This is where things start to get really interesting because the most common type of actually also bypasses a proportion of the gut hormone cells. It is thought that this causes the gut hormone cells to change and be reprogrammed. For us, understanding how these cells change in response to surgery is likely to hold the key to a cure for diabetes."

In the UK, approximately 2.9 million people are affected by diabetes and the most common form of the disease is Type 2 diabetes which is linked to genes, ethnicity, obesity and diet.

"Understanding the messages the gut sends out when we eat food and when things go wrong, as is the case in diabetes, is our next challenge and hopefully one that will result in the development of drugs which could be used instead of surgery to cure obesity and prevent ," said Dr Smith.

Related Stories

Surgery not an easy fix for diabetes

December 18, 2012

(Medical Xpress)—Over the past few years, weight loss surgery has become an increasingly popular option to treat Type 2 diabetes, but Dr. Vivian Fonseca, professor of medicine at the Tulane University School of Medicine, ...

Gastric bypass improves insulin secretion in pigs

January 31, 2014

The majority of gastric bypass patients mysteriously recover from their type 2 diabetes within days, before any weight loss has taken place. A study at Lund University Diabetes Centre in Sweden has now shown that the insulin-producing ...

Recommended for you

Bacteria may cause type 2 diabetes

June 1, 2015

Bacteria and viruses have an obvious role in causing infectious diseases, but microbes have also been identified as the surprising cause of other illnesses, including cervical cancer (Human papilloma virus) and stomach ulcers ...

'Crosstalk' gives clues to diabetes

June 15, 2015

Sometimes, listening in on a conversation can tell you a lot. For Mark Huising, an assistant professor in the Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior at the UC Davis College of Biological Sciences, that crosstalk ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.