Objective: Although women are the most common recipients of weight loss surgeries for the amelioration of the comorbidities of obesity, few studies have addressed the efficacy of these procedures with specific attention to reproductive stage. Here we ask in a rodent model of vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG) whether improvements to metabolic health are realized in women having received surgical menopause. Specifically we were interested in knowing whether rats made menopausal through surgical means would exhibit persistent hepatic steatosis as reported in previously pregnant, freely cycling female VSG rats or if it is resolved as reported in male VSG rats.
Methods: All the rats first received ovariectomy (OVX) and then were placed on high-fat diet before either sham or VSG surgery (N = 12, 9) and then were monitored for resolution of obesity-related comorbidities.
Results: VSG was sufficient to reduce weight and adiposity in OVX females in comparison to obese rats (P < 0.001). Glucose tolerance (P < 0.05) was improved in OVX-VSG females with no change in insulin sensitivity. Both circulating (P < 0.01) and hepatic triglyceride (P < 0.01) levels were also reduced after VSG. Liver integrity was improved in OVX-VSG in comparison to OVX-obese as reflected by reduced aspartate aminotransferase levels (P < 0.05). The ability of mitochondria to generate adenosine triphosphate was maintained, and an increase in complex IV may decrease the production of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species.
Conclusions: Taken together, VSG in OVX rats experience many positive benefits including the resolution of hepatic steatosis that persists in reproductively intact female rats after VSG.