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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Effects of gastric bypass surgery on brain connectivity responses to hypoglycemia

Fanni, Giovanni; Kagios, Christakis; Roman, Erika; Sundbom, Magnus; Wikström, Johan; Haller, Sven; Eriksson, Jan W.


Introduction Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) leads to beneficial effects on glucose homeostasis, and attenuated hormonal counterregulatory responses to hypoglycemia are likely to contribute. RYGB also induces alterations in neural activity of cortical and subcortical brain regions. We aimed to characterize RYGB-induced changes in resting-state connectivity of specific brain regions of interest for energy homeostasis and behavioral control during hypoglycemia.Method Ten patients with BMI > 35 kg/m(2) were investigated with brain PET/MR imaging during a hyperinsulinemic normo- and hypoglycemic clamp, before and 4 months after RYGB. Hormonal levels were assessed throughout the clamp. Resting-state (RS) fMRI scans were acquired in the glucose-lowering phase of the clamp, and they were analyzed with a seed-to-voxel approach.Results RS connectivity during initiation of hypoglycemia was significantly altered after RYGB between nucleus accumbens, thalamus, caudate, hypothalamus and their crosstalk with cortical and subcortical regions. Connectivity between the nucleus accumbens and the frontal pole was increased after RYGB, and this was associated with a reduction of ACTH (r = -0.639, p = 0.047) and cortisol (r = -0.635, p = 0.048) responses. Instead, connectivity between the caudate and the frontal pole after RYGB was reduced and this was associated with less attenuation of glucagon response during the hypoglycemic clamp (r = -0.728, p = 0.017), smaller reduction in fasting glucose (r = -0.798, p = 0.007) and less excess weight loss (r = 0.753, p = 0.012). No other significant associations were found between post-RYGB changes in ROI-to-voxel regional connectivity hormonal responses and metabolic or anthropometric outcomes.Conclusion RYGB alters brain connectivity during hypoglycemia of several neural pathways involved in reward, inhibitory control, and energy homeostasis. These changes are associated with altered hormonal responses to hypoglycemia and may be involved in the glucometabolic outcome of RYGB.


RYGB; fMRI; Feeding behavior; Counterregulatory response

Published in

2023, volume: 79, number: 2, pages: 304-312

Authors' information

Fanni, Giovanni
Uppsala University
Kagios, Christakis
Uppsala University
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry (AFB)
Uppsala University
Sundbom, Magnus
Uppsala University
Wikström, Johan
Uppsala University
Haller, Sven
Uppsala University
Eriksson, Jan W.
Uppsala University

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