Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D) is emerging as a worldwide public health problem, and is mainly associated with an increased incidence of obesity. Bariatric surgery is currently considered the most effective treatment for severely obese patients. After bariatric surgery, T2D patients have shown a significant improvement in glycemic control, even before substantial weight loss and often discontinuation of medication for diabetes control. A central role for enteroendocrine cells from the epithelium of the gastrointestinal tract has been speculated in this postoperative phenomenon. These cells produce and secrete polypeptides - gut hormones - that are associated with regulating energy intake and glucose homeostasis through modulation of peripheral target organs, including the endocrine pancreas. This article reviews and discusses the biological actions of the gut hormones ghrelin, cholecystokinin, incretins, enteroglucagon, and Peptide YY, all of which were recently identified as potential candidates for mediators of glycemic control after bariatric surgery. In conclusion, current data reinforce the hypothesis that T2D reversion after bariatric surgery may be related to glycemic homeostasis developed by the intestine.
Keywords: Bariatric surgery; Enteroendocrine cells; Glucose homeostasis; Gut hormones; Obesity; Type 2 diabetes mellitus.