"In healthy patients, a correct balance between incretin and anti-incretin factors maintains normal excursions of sugar levels in the bloodstream," he explains. "In some individuals, the duodenum and jejunum may be producing too much of this anti-incretin, thereby reducing insulin secretion and blocking the action of insulin, ultimately resulting in Type 2 diabetes."
Indeed, in Type 2 diabetes, cells are resistant to the action of insulin ("insulin resistance"), while the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin to overcome the resistance.
After gastrointestinal bypass procedures, the exclusion of the upper small intestine from the transit of nutrients may offset the abnormal production of anti-incretin, thereby resulting in remission of diabetes.
In order to better understand these mechanisms, and help make the potential benefits of diabetes surgery more widely available, Dr. Rubino calls for prioritizing research in diabetes surgery. "Further research on the exact molecular mechanisms of diabetes, surgical control of diabetes and the role played by the bowel in the disease may bring us closer to the cause of diabetes."
Today, most patients with diabetes are not offered a surgical option, and bariatric surgery is recommended only for those with severe obesity (a body mass index, or BMI, of greater than 35kg).
"It has become clear, however, that BMI cut-offs can no longer be used to determine who is an ideal candidate for surgical treatment of diabetes," says Dr. Rubino.
"There is, in fact, growing evidence that diabetes surgery can be effective even for patients who are only slightly obese or just overweight. Clinical trials in this field are therefore a priority as they allow us to compare diabetes surgery to other treatment options in the attempt to understand when the benefits of surgery outweigh its risks. Clinical guidelines for diabetes surgery will certainly be different from thos
|Contact: John Rodgers|
New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center/Weill Cornell Medical College