Neurobiologic changes in the hypothalamus associated with weight loss after gastric bypass

J Am Coll Surg. 2004 Dec;199(6):887-95. doi: 10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2004.07.013.


Background: Effects of Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) on hypothalamic food intake regulation have not been investigated. The hypothalamic arcuate nucleus (ARC) and the magnocellular (m) and parvocellular (p) parts of the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) regulate hunger and satiety, and are under control of the orexigenic neuropeptide Y (NPY), and the anorexigenic alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH) and serotonin (5-HT). We hypothesized that after RYGB, weight loss is associated with hypothalamic down regulation of NPY and up regulation of 5-HT and alpha-MSH.

Study design: Obesity was induced in 12 Sprague Dawley rats using a high-energy diet for 7 weeks, and then the rats were divided into three groups (n = 4/group): RYGB, sham-operated pair-fed (PF), and sham-operated ad libitum (obese control). Ten days after operation, immunohistochemical quantification of NPY, alpha-MSH, and 5-HT(1B)-receptors in ARC and PVN was performed. Data were analyzed using ANOVA and Tukey's test.

Results: Body weight decreased in RYGB (417 +/- 21 g; mean +/- SE) and in PF (436 +/- 14 g) rats 10 days after operation compared with obese control rats (484 +/- 15 g; p < 0.05 for each comparison). NPY in ARC, pPVN, and mPVN decreased by 43%, 43%, and 61%, respectively in RYGB and by 55%, 42%, and 71% in PF, respectively, compared with obese controls (p < 0.05 for each pairwise comparison). RYGB versus PF did not show differences. alpha-MSH in ARC, pPVN and mPVN increased by 35%, 175%, and 67%, respectively in RYGB and by 29%, 162%, and 116% in PF, respectively, compared with obese controls (each p < 0.05). In mPVN, alpha-MSH significantly decreased by 23% in RYGB versus PF (p < 0.05). 5-HT-(1B)-receptor in pPVN increased by 58% in RYGB and by 26% in PF, compared with obese controls (p < 0.05). Compared with obese controls, 5HT-(1B)-receptor in mPVN increased by 39% in RYGB (p < 0.05) and by 9% in PF (p > 0.05). An increase of 5-HT-(1B)-receptor in pPVN and mPVN occurred in RYGB versus PF (p < 0.05).

Conclusions: Obese rats that undergo weight loss after RYGB demonstrate changes in hypothalamic down regulation of NPY and up regulation of alpha-MSH and serotonin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Anastomosis, Roux-en-Y
  • Animals
  • Arcuate Nucleus of Hypothalamus / physiopathology*
  • Down-Regulation
  • Gastric Bypass*
  • Male
  • Melanocyte-Stimulating Hormones / physiology
  • Neuropeptide Y / physiology
  • Obesity
  • Paraventricular Hypothalamic Nucleus / physiopathology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Serotonin / physiology
  • Up-Regulation
  • Weight Loss


  • Neuropeptide Y
  • Serotonin
  • Melanocyte-Stimulating Hormones