Bariatric surgery in morbidly obese insulin resistant humans normalises insulin signalling but not insulin-stimulated glucose disposal

Mimi Z. Chen, Claire A. Hudson, Emma E. Vincent, David A R De Berker, Margaret T. May, Ingeborg Hers, Colin M. Dayan, Robert C. Andrews, Jeremy M. Tavare

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: Weight-loss after bariatric surgery improves insulin sensitivity, but the underlying molecular mechanism is not clear. To ascertain the effect of bariatric surgery on insulin signalling, we examined glucose disposal and Akt activation in morbidly obese volunteers before and after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery (RYGB), and compared this to lean volunteers. Materials and Methods: The hyperinsulinaemic euglycaemic clamp, at five infusion rates, was used to determine glucose disposal rates (GDR) in eight morbidly obese (body mass index, BMI=47.3 ±2.2 kg/m<sup>2</sup>) patients, before and after RYGB, and in eight lean volunteers (BMI=20.7±0.7 kg/m<sup>2</sup>). Biopsies of brachioradialis muscle, taken at fasting and insulin concentrations that induced half-maximal (GDR<inf>50</inf>) and maximal (GDR<inf>100</inf>) GDR in each subject, were used to examine the phosphorylation of Akt-Thr308, Akt-473, and pras40, in vivo biomarkers for Akt activity. Results: Pre-operatively, insulin-stimulated GDR was lower in the obese compared to the lean individuals (P<0.001). Weight-loss of 29.9±4 kg after surgery significantly improved GDR<inf>50</inf> (P=0.004) but not GDR 100 (P=0.3). These subjects still remained significantly more insulin resistant than the lean individuals (p<0.001). Weight loss increased insulin-stimulated skeletal muscle Akt-Thr308 and Akt-Ser473 phosphorylation, P=0.02 and P=0.03 respectively (MANCOVA), and Akt activity towards the substrate PRAS40 (P=0.003, MANCOVA), and in contrast to GDR, were fully normalised after the surgery (obese vs lean, P=0.6, P=0.35, P=0.46, respectively). Conclusions: Our data show that although Akt activity substantially improved after surgery, it did not lead to a full restoration of insulin-stimulated glucose disposal. This suggests that a major defect downstream of, or parallel to, Akt signalling remains after significant weight-loss.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0120084
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 13 Apr 2015


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