Patients with neuroglycopenia after gastric bypass surgery have exaggerated incretin and insulin secretory responses to a mixed meal

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Dec;92(12):4678-85. doi: 10.1210/jc.2007-0918. Epub 2007 Sep 25.


Context and objective: Hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia is newly recognized as a rare but important complication after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (GB). The etiology of the syndrome and metabolic characteristics remain incompletely understood. Recent studies suggest that levels of incretin hormones are increased after GB and may promote excessive beta-cell function and/or growth.

Patients and methods: We performed a cross-sectional analysis of metabolic variables, in both the fasting state and after a liquid mixed-meal challenge, in four subject groups: 1) with clinically significant hypoglycemia [neuroglycopenia (NG)] after GB surgery, 2) with no symptoms of hypoglycemia at similar duration after GB surgery, 3) without GB similar to preoperative body mass index of the surgical cohorts, and 4) without GB similar to current body mass index of the surgical cohorts.

Results: Insulin and C-peptide after the liquid mixed meal were both higher relative to the glucose level achieved in persons after GB with NG compared with asymptomatic individuals. Glucagon, glucagon-like peptide 1, and glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide levels were higher in both post-GB surgical groups compared with both overweight and morbidly obese persons, and glucagon-like peptide 1 was markedly higher in the group with NG. Insulin resistance, assessed by homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance, the composite insulin sensitivity index, or adiponectin, was similar in both post-GB groups. Dumping score was also higher in both GB groups but did not discriminate between asymptomatic and symptomatic patients. Notably, the frequency of asymptomatic hypoglycemia after a liquid mixed meal was high in post-GB patients.

Conclusion: A robust insulin secretory response was associated with postprandial hypoglycemia in patients after GB presenting with NG. Increased incretin levels may contribute to the increased insulin secretory response.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Body Mass Index
  • C-Peptide / blood
  • Eating / physiology*
  • Female
  • Food
  • Gastric Bypass / adverse effects*
  • Gastric Inhibitory Polypeptide / metabolism
  • Glucagon / blood
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemia / etiology*
  • Incretins / blood*
  • Insulin / blood*
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Obesity, Morbid / metabolism
  • Postoperative Complications / metabolism*


  • Blood Glucose
  • C-Peptide
  • Incretins
  • Insulin
  • Gastric Inhibitory Polypeptide
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1
  • Glucagon