Differential effects of bariatric surgery and lifestyle interventions on plasma levels of Lp(a) and fatty acids

Lipids Health Dis. 2022 Dec 28;21(1):145. doi: 10.1186/s12944-022-01756-1.


Background: Limited evidence suggests that surgical and non-surgical obesity treatment differentially influence plasma Lipoprotein (a) [Lp(a)] levels. Further, a novel association between plasma arachidonic acid and Lp(a) has recently been shown, suggesting that fatty acids are a possible target to influence Lp(a). Here, the effects of bariatric surgery and lifestyle interventions on plasma levels of Lp(a) were compared, and it was examined whether the effects were mediated by changes in plasma fatty acid (FA) levels.

Methods: The study includes two independent trials of patients with overweight or obesity. Trial 1: Two-armed intervention study including 82 patients who underwent a 7-week low energy diet (LED), followed by Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and 52-week follow-up (surgery-group), and 77 patients who underwent a 59-week energy restricted diet- and exercise-program (lifestyle-group). Trial 2: A clinical study including 134 patients who underwent a 20-week very-LED/LED (lifestyle-cohort).

Results: In the surgery-group, Lp(a) levels [median (interquartile range)] tended to increase in the pre-surgical LED-phase [17(7-68)-21(7-81)nmol/L, P = 0.05], but decreased by 48% after surgery [21(7-81)-11(7-56)nmol/L, P < 0.001]. In the lifestyle-group and lifestyle-cohort, Lp(a) increased by 36%[14(7-77)-19(7-94)nmol/L, P < 0.001] and 14%[50(14-160)-57(19-208)nmol/L, P < 0.001], respectively. Changes in Lp(a) were independent of weight loss. Plasma levels of total saturated FAs remained unchanged after surgery, but decreased after lifestyle interventions. Arachidonic acid and total n-3 FAs decreased after surgery, but increased after lifestyle interventions. Plasma FAs did not mediate the effects on Lp(a).

Conclusion: Bariatric surgery reduced, whereas lifestyle interventions increased plasma Lp(a), independent of weight loss. The interventions differentially influenced changes in plasma FAs, but these changes did not mediate changes in Lp(a).

Trial registration: Trial 1: Clinicaltrials.gov NCT00626964. Trial 2: Netherlands Trial Register NL2140 (NTR2264).

Keywords: Bariatric surgery; Fatty acids; Lifestyle intervention; Lp(a); Obesity.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Arachidonic Acid
  • Bariatric Surgery*
  • Fatty Acids
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Lipoprotein(a)
  • Obesity / surgery
  • Obesity, Morbid* / surgery
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Loss


  • Arachidonic Acid
  • Fatty Acids
  • Lipoprotein(a)

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00626964