Weight loss surgery not only shrinks waists but also affects genes

April 11, 2013

Gastric bypass surgery can drastically reduce the body weight of obese individuals in a short timeframe. For reasons that are not entirely clear, the surgery also leads to early remission of type 2 diabetes in the vast majority of patients. Researchers report online April 11 in Cell Reports, published by Cell Press, the discovery of gene-expression alterations in individuals who underwent the surgery compared with obese individuals who did not.

"We provide evidence that in severely obese people, the levels of specific genes that control how fat is burned and stored in the body are changed to reflect poor metabolic health," says senior author Professor Juleen Zierath, of the Karolinska Institutet, in Stockholm, Sweden. "After surgery, the levels of these genes are restored to a healthy state, which mirrors weight loss and coincides with overall improvement in metabolism."

When the investigators probed deeper, they found that weight loss after surgery causes changes in DNA modifications that in response to the environment. Specifically, changes in methylation, or chemical markings, on two genes that control glucose and fat metabolism (called PGC-1alpha and PDK4) correlate with obesity but are reversed after surgery-induced weight loss. The findings suggest that the environment—in this case food intake or weight loss—can affect gene expression through this mechanism.

"The novelty of our work originates with the finding that is altered by weight loss." says first author Romain Barrès, of the University of Copenhagen, in Denmark.

The findings may be useful for the design of new drugs that mimic this weight-loss-associated control of gene regulation.

Explore further: Race might play role in success of weight-loss surgery

More information: Barres et al.: "Weight loss after gastric bypass surgery in human obesity induces promoter methylation." Cell Reports, 2013. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2013.03.018

Related Stories

Race might play role in success of weight-loss surgery

June 20, 2012
(HealthDay) -- Black women without diabetes lost about 10 percent less weight than white women after having a weight-loss procedure called gastric bypass surgery, but having diabetes helped increase their weight loss, a new ...

Bariatric surgical procedures have similar therapeutic benefits in obese adults

November 26, 2012
Obesity is associated with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, both of which can be significantly improved by weight loss. Gastric bypass and adjustable gastric banding are two bariatric surgery techniques that are frequently ...

Obese moms give birth to heart healthier kids following bariatric surgery

October 29, 2012
Kids born to moms who have lost a substantial amount of weight after undergoing bariatric surgery have fewer cardiovascular risk factors than their siblings who were born before the weight loss surgery.

Weight loss after gastric bypass surgery reduces expression of Alzheimer's genes

June 6, 2011
Obesity is a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease, but weight loss due to bariatric surgery may reduce the risk of this common dementia, a new study suggests. The results will be presented Sunday at The Endocrine Society's ...

Surgery-related weight loss in men reverses testosterone deficiency

June 4, 2011
Low testosterone levels and symptoms of male sexual dysfunction due to obesity may be reversible with weight loss after bariatric surgery, a new study finds.

Scientists reassess weight loss surgery for type 2 diabetes

January 4, 2012
Weight loss surgery is not a cure for type 2 diabetes, but it can improve blood sugar control, according to a new study published in the British Journal of Surgery. Whereas some previous studies have claimed that up to 80 ...

Recommended for you

A sodium surprise: Engineers find unexpected result during cardiac research

July 20, 2017
Irregular heartbeat—or arrhythmia—can have sudden and often fatal consequences. A biomedical engineering team at Washington University in St. Louis examining molecular behavior in cardiac tissue recently made a surprising ...

Engineered liver tissue expands after transplant

July 19, 2017
Many diseases, including cirrhosis and hepatitis, can lead to liver failure. More than 17,000 Americans suffering from these diseases are now waiting for liver transplants, but significantly fewer livers are available.

Lunatic Fringe gene plays key role in the renewable brain

July 19, 2017
The discovery that the brain can generate new cells - about 700 new neurons each day - has triggered investigations to uncover how this process is regulated. Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and Jan and Dan Duncan ...

'Smart' robot technology could give stroke rehab a boost

July 19, 2017
Scientists say they have developed a "smart" robotic harness that might make it easier for people to learn to walk again after a stroke or spinal cord injury.

New animal models for hepatitis C could pave the way for a vaccine

July 19, 2017
They say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In the case of hepatitis C—a disease that affects nearly 71 million people worldwide, causing cirrhosis and liver cancer if left untreated—it might be worth ...

Omega-3 fatty acids fight inflammation via cannabinoids

July 18, 2017
Chemical compounds called cannabinoids are found in marijuana and also are produced naturally in the body from omega-3 fatty acids. A well-known cannabinoid in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol, is responsible for some of its ...

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.