Background: This is a review of intestinal glucagon, which is released when undigested food is in the terminal ileum.
Methods and results: In the early 1980s, Koopmans and Sclafani showed in fat rats that the transposition of a short segment of ileum to the duodenum would decrease weight just as effectively as intestinal bypass. Sarson and coworkers found elevated enteroglucagon after biliopancreatic diversion (BPD). Scopinaro has observed that patients with diabetes who undergo BPD are cured of diabetes and do not experience a recurrence. Näslund and associates showed recently a high level of plasma glucagon-like peptide (GLP-1) 20 years after jejunoileal bypass. GLP-1 has been shown to be an effective medication for treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM). It must be given parenterally. It has been used only in short, well-controlled studies.
Conclusions: It appears from all that is now known about GLP-1 that ileal transposition would be an ideal operation for treatment of type 2 DM. Release of enteroglucagon from the ileum has probably contributed to weight control in bypass operations for obesity, but the effect has been obscured by the associated malabsorption. The release of GLP-1 after meals has probably been beneficial to patients treated with gastric bypass who had type 2 DM. This is a recommendation for well-planned studies of ileal transposition in the treatment of type 2 DM and obesity. Ileal transposition is not recommended for general use until such studies have shown safety, efficacy, and the requirements for patient selection.