Hypothalamic integrity is necessary for sustained weight loss after bariatric surgery: A prospective, cross-sectional study

Metabolism. 2023 Jan;138:155341. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2022.155341. Epub 2022 Oct 27.


Objective: The hypothalamus is the main integrator of peripheral and central signals in the control of energy homeostasis. Its functional relevance for the effectivity of bariatric surgery is not entirely elucidated. Studying the effects of bariatric surgery in patients with hypothalamic damage might provide insight.

Summary background data: Prospective study to analyze the effects of bariatric surgery in patients with hypothalamic obesity (HO) vs. matched patients with common obesity (CO) with and without bariatric surgery.

Methods: 65 participants were included (HO-surgery: n = 8, HO-control: n = 10, CO-surgery: n = 12, CO-control: n = 12, Lean-control: n = 23). Body weight, levels of anorexic hormones, gut microbiota, as well as subjective well-being/health status, eating behavior, and brain activity (via functional MRI) were evaluated.

Results: Patients with HO lost significantly less weight after bariatric surgery than CO-participants (total body weight loss %: 5.5 % vs. 26.2 %, p = 0.0004). After a mixed meal, satiety and abdominal fullness tended to be lowest in HO-surgery and did not correlate with levels of GLP-1 or PYY. Levels of PYY (11,151 ± 1667 pmol/l/h vs. 8099 ± 1235 pmol/l/h, p = 0.028) and GLP-1 (20,975 ± 2893 pmol/l/h vs. 13,060 ± 2357 pmol/l/h, p = 0.009) were significantly higher in the HO-surgery vs. CO-surgery group. Abundance of Enterobacteriaceae and Streptococcus was increased in feces of HO and CO after bariatric surgery. Comparing HO patients with lean-controls revealed an increased activation in insula and cerebellum to viewing high-caloric foods in left insula and cerebellum in fMRI.

Conclusions: Hypothalamic integrity is necessary for the effectiveness of bariatric surgery in humans. Peripheral changes after bariatric surgery are not sufficient to induce satiety and long-term weight loss in patients with hypothalamic damage.

Keywords: Bariatric surgery; Craniopharyngioma; Gut microbiota; Obesity; RYGB.

MeSH terms

  • Bariatric Surgery*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Gastric Bypass*
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamic Diseases*
  • Hypothalamus
  • Obesity / surgery
  • Prospective Studies
  • Weight Loss / physiology


  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1