Researchers at UC Davis found out that it was possible to delay the onset of Type 2 Diabetes in rats with a surgical weight-loss procedure similar to bariatric surgery in humans.
The researchers also have identified biochemical changes caused by the surgeries that may be responsible for that delay.
Findings from the study should help researchers identify strategies for preventing and treating type 2 diabetes- a chronic condition in which the body is unable to properly metabolise sugar and fat, leading to serious complications including heart disease, blindness and kidney failure.
"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.
"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. 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," said Havel.
"This study confirms our clinical observations that metabolic regulation-specifically homeostasis of glucose-occurs quickly after gastric bypass surgery. It's clear from the outcome that something physiologic is at work with controlling diabetes that is not related to weight loss," said Mohamed Ali at UC Davis Health System.
The researchers set out to test a hypothesis that certain bariatric surgical procedures were successful in improving type 2 diabetes, at least in part, because the procedures increased the flux of unabsorbed nutrients to the far end of the small intestine and, in doing so, triggered increased secretion of two hormones.
Those hormones-glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and peptide-YY (PYY) -- are known to have a role in controlling food intake and improving insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity, thereby helping to stabilize blood sugar levels.
To test the hypothesis, the researchers carried out a surgical procedure known as ileal interposition in a line of rats that were predisposed to obesity and type 2 diabetes.
They found that the rats receiving the ileal interposition surgery developed type 2 diabetes 120 days later than did the rats in the control group.
In addition, by the time the rats were one year old, 78 percent of the control group rats were diabetic while only 38 percent of the rats that had received the ileal interposition procedure had developed diabetes.
The study has been published online in the journal Gastroenterology. (ANI)