The way in which diabetes is cured in the majority of patients that undergo gastric bypass surgery has been revealed by scientists, who add that it can be explained by specialized cells in the intestine that secrete a cocktail of powerful hormones when we eat.
The research team showed that gut hormone cells previously thought to contain just one hormone, had up to six hormones including the hunger hormone ghrelin.
Craig Smith, a Senior Lecturer in Molecular Cell Physiology, said that their 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 insulin release to the brain, to convey the sense of being full and to optimize and maximize digestion and absorption of nutrients.
Smith said that 75 percent of people suffering from obesity who also have diabetes are cured of diabetes after receiving a gastric bypass and that understanding how bypasses surgery cures diabetes is the crux of his team's research.
He added that understanding the messages the gut sends out when they eat food and when things go wrong, as is the case in diabetes, is their 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 diabetes.
The study was published in the journal Endocrinology.