Bariatric surgery has been shown to improve glucose tolerance, although the mechanism has not been fully elucidated. Animal studies have suggested important roles of bile acid (BA) as a regulator of energy homeostasis and glucose metabolism. However, little is known about its role in humans. We investigated the longitudinal changes of BA, incretins, and adipokines after significant weight reduction in 34 Japanese adults with morbid obesity who underwent laparoscopic bariatric surgery. In subjects who underwent malabsorptive or restrictive surgery, body mass index had markedly decreased from 43.0 +/- 6.5 (SD) to 37.8 +/- 5.7 kg/m(2) and from 45.3 +/- 11.2 to 41.5 +/- 10.5 kg/m(2), respectively, at 1 month after surgery. Glycated hemoglobin decreased from 6.1% +/- 1.5% to 5.2% +/- 0.4% and from 6.2% +/- 1.3% to 5.4% +/- 0.7%, and total BA level increased from 3.1 +/- 3.5 to 7.2 +/- 5.3 mumol/L and from 3.2 +/- 2.6 to 9.4 +/- 10.0 mumol/L, respectively. At baseline, serum concentration of primary BA was positively correlated with plasma gastric inhibitory polypeptide level (r = 0.548, P = .001); and change in primary BA level was positively correlated with changes in plasma gastric inhibitory polypeptide (r = 0.626, P = .001) and serum immunoreactive insulin level (r = 0.592, P = .002) at 1 month after surgery. Furthermore, plasma glucagon-like peptide-1 and serum high-molecular weight adiponectin levels increased in both surgeries. These hormonal changes might explain the mechanism(s) of improved glucose tolerance after bariatric surgery in morbidly obese subjects.