Altered glucose metabolism after bariatric surgery: What's GLP-1 got to do with it?

Metabolism. 2018 Jun:83:159-166. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2017.10.014. Epub 2017 Nov 4.


Bariatric surgery is an effective treatment for obesity. The two widely performed weight-loss procedures, Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (GB) and sleeve gastrectomy (SG), alter postprandial glucose pattern and enhance gut hormone secretion immediately after surgery before significant weight loss. This weight-loss independent glycemic effects of GB has been attributed to an accelerated nutrient transit from stomach pouch to the gut and enhanced secretion of insulinotropic gut factors; in particular, glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). Meal-induced GLP-1 secretion is as much as tenfold higher in patients after GB compared to non-surgical individuals and inhibition of GLP-1 action during meals reduces postprandial hyperinsulinemia after GB two to three times more than that in persons without surgery. Moreover, in a subgroup of patients with the late complication of postprandial hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia after GB, GLP1R blockade reverses hypoglycemia by reducing meal stimulated insulin secretion. The role of enteroinsular axis activity after SG, an increasingly popular alternative to GB, is less understood but, similar to GB, SG accelerates nutrient delivery to the intestine, improves glucose tolerance, and increases postprandial GLP-1 secretion. This review will focus on the current evidence for and against the role of GLP-1 on glycemic effects of GB and will also highlight differences between GB and SG.

Keywords: Bariatric surgery; Diabetes; Exendin-9; GLP-1; Glucose; Obesity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bariatric Surgery* / rehabilitation
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / surgery
  • Gastrectomy / methods
  • Gastrectomy / rehabilitation
  • Gastric Bypass / rehabilitation
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Obesity / blood
  • Obesity / surgery
  • Weight Loss / physiology


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1