"The researchers observed that the operation promoted weight loss and improved glucose metabolism in mice with FXR while the operation had no effect in mice that lacked FXR."
London, April 23 - That bariatric surgery, or obesity surgery, leads to weight loss is well known, but researchers have now identified the mechanism why obesity surgery also leave positive effects on diabetes and heart diseases.
Health benefits from obesity surgery are not caused by a reduction in the stomach size but by increased levels of bile acids in the blood, said the study.
Bile acids could be a new target for treating obesity and diabetes, suggested the study.
For the study, researchers focused on a specific receptor called FXR, which is involved in bile acid signaling.
Our study shows that signaling through FXR is essential for the beneficial effects of the surgery to be achieved, Fredrik Bäckhed from Sahlgrenska Academy in Sweden.
This is a major breakthrough in understanding how bariatric surgery affects metabolism and in the development of new treatment strategies, Bäckhed said.
Bariatric surgery is associated with a risk of complications and therefore treatment strategies based on the FXR receptor could be an important future therapeutic approach, said the study.
In this study, mice with or without the FXR gene underwent an operation termed vertical sleeve gastrectomy - in which approximately 80 percent of the stomach was removed.
The surgical procedure is the same as that performed in humans.
The researchers observed that the operation promoted weight loss and improved glucose metabolism in mice with FXR while the operation had no effect in mice that lacked FXR.
The study appeared in the journal Nature.