It has been suggested that weight reduction and improvements in satiety after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) are partly mediated via postoperative neuroendocrine changes. Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) is a gut hormone secreted after food ingestion and is associated with appetite and weight reduction, mediated via effects on the central nervous system (CNS). Secretion of GLP-1 is greatly enhanced after RYGB. We hypothesized that postoperative elevated GLP-1 levels contribute to the improved satiety regulation after RYGB via effects on the CNS.
Effects of the GLP-1 receptor antagonist exendin 9-39 (Ex9-39) and placebo were assessed in 10 women before and after RYGB. We used functional MRI to investigate CNS activation in response to visual food cues (pictures) and gustatory food cues (consumption of chocolate milk), comparing results with Ex9-39 versus placebo before and after RYGB.
After RYGB, CNS activation was reduced in the rolandic operculum and caudate nucleus in response to viewing food pictures (P = 0.03) and in the insula in response to consumption of palatable food (P = 0.003). GLP-1 levels were significantly elevated postoperatively (P < 0.001). After RYGB, GLP-1 receptor blockade resulted in a larger increase in activation in the caudate nucleus in response to food pictures (P = 0.02) and in the insula in response to palatable food consumption (P = 0.002).
We conclude that the effects of RYGB on CNS activation in response to visual and gustatory food cues may be mediated by central effects of GLP-1. Our findings provide further insights into the mechanisms underlying the weight-lowering effects of RYGB.