A group of researchers led by Nicholas Stylopoulos, of the Division of Endocrinology at the Children's Hospital of Boston, in the United States, has discovered, in a study conducted with rats, that the small intestine -Which was considered a passive organ- is a key piece in the metabolism of the organism, and that the surgery of gastric bypass can eliminate type 2 diabetes by having this organ change its way of processing glucose.

This type of surgical intervention, which is performed in patients with morbid obesity, had already been shown to have an influence on the improvement of the diabetes, since many patients with severe obesity suffer from diabetes. However, it had also been observed that diabetes was often resolved even before weight loss was achieved, so the Stylopoulos team decided to investigate.

"The study shows that gastric bypass surgery can eliminate type 2 diabetes by making the small intestine change its way of processing glucose"

The cgastric bypass surgery, is to direct food to the smallest bag of the stomach, without going through the rest of this organ or the duodenum. The scientists verified that, after surgery, the intestine is reprogrammed to contain GLUT-1, a specific transporter that is responsible for eliminating glucose, and in this way can stabilize the levels of glucose in the blood.

The study showed that diabetes was corrected in all rats that underwent gastric bypass, and according to researchers, in 64% of cases this occurred thanks to the modification suffered by the intestine, while the rest could be due to to weight loss or other factors. The authors of the work believe that future research should aim to discover how to develop a medical pathway that can mimic reprogramming the bowel without resorting to surgery.

How can bariatric surgery treat diabetes? (November 2019).