Intraoperative immunomodulatory effects of sevoflurane versus total intravenous anesthesia with propofol in bariatric surgery (the OBESITA trial): study protocol for a randomized controlled pilot trial

Trials. 2019 May 28;20(1):300. doi: 10.1186/s13063-019-3399-z.


Background: Obesity is associated with a chronic systemic inflammatory process. Volatile or intravenous anesthetic agents may modulate immune function, and may do so differentially in obesity. However, no study has evaluated whether these potential immunomodulatory effects differ according to type of anesthesia in obese patients undergoing laparoscopic bariatric surgery.

Methods/design: The OBESITA trial is a prospective, nonblinded, single-center, randomized, controlled clinical pilot trial. The trial will include 48 patients with a body mass index ≥ 35 kg/m2, scheduled for laparoscopic bariatric surgery using sleeve or a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass technique, who will be allocated 1:1 to undergo general inhalational anesthesia with sevoflurane or total intravenous anesthesia (TIVA) with propofol. The primary endpoint is the difference in plasma interleukin (IL)-6 levels when comparing the two anesthetic agents. Blood samples will be collected prior to anesthesia induction (baseline), immediately after anesthetic induction, and before endotracheal extubation. Levels of other proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines, neutrophil chemotaxis, macrophage differentiation, phagocytosis, and occurrence of intraoperative and postoperative complications will also be evaluated.

Discussion: To our knowledge, this is the first randomized clinical trial designed to compare the effects of two different anesthetics on immunomodulation in obese patients undergoing laparoscopic bariatric surgery. Our hypothesis is that anesthesia with sevoflurane will result in a weaker proinflammatory response compared to anesthesia with propofol, with lower circulating levels of IL-6 and other proinflammatory mediators, and increased macrophage differentiation into the M2 phenotype in adipose tissue.

Trial registration: Registro Brasileiro de Ensaios Clínicos, RBR-77kfj5 . Registered on 25 July 2018.

Keywords: Clinical trial; Cytokines; Inflammation; Interleukin 6; Lung injury; Obesity; Propofol; Sevoflurane.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial Protocol
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anesthesia, Intravenous*
  • Bariatric Surgery / methods*
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors / pharmacology*
  • Interleukin-6 / blood
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Propofol / pharmacology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic*
  • Research Design
  • Sevoflurane / pharmacology*
  • Young Adult


  • Immunologic Factors
  • Interleukin-6
  • Sevoflurane
  • Propofol