Obesity has reached epidemic proportions and, to date, bariatric surgery remains the only effective treatment for morbid obesity in terms of its capacity to achieve durable weight loss. Bariatric surgery procedures, including Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB), adjustable gastric banding (AGB) and sleeve gastrectomy (SG), have been the primary procedures conducted over the past decade, with SG increasing in popularity over the past 5 years at the expense of both RYGB and AGB. Although these procedures were initially proposed to function via restrictive or malabsorptive mechanisms, it is now clear that profound physiological changes underlie the metabolic improvements in patients who undergo bariatric surgery. Data generated in human patients and animal models highlight the rapid and sustained changes in gut hormones that coincide with these procedures. Furthermore, recent studies highlight the involvement of the nervous system, specifically the vagus nerve, in mediating the reduction in appetite and food intake following bariatric surgery. What is unclear is where these pathways converge and interact within the gut-brain axis and whether vagally-mediated circuits are sufficient to drive the metabolic sequalae following bariatric surgery.
Keywords: Roux-en-Y gastric bypass; adjustable gastric banding; bariatric surgery; sleeve gastrectomy; vagus nerve.
© 2017 British Society for Neuroendocrinology.