WASHINGTON, Oct. 7, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- An article published in Experimental Biology and Medicine (Volume 244, Issue 13, October, 2019) (https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1535370219857991) provides new insights regarding the effects of bariatric surgery on the immune system. The study, led by Dr. Bernadette Grayson, Associate Professor at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi (USA) reports that removal of the spleen does not impact weight loss or immune system changes in a rodent model that mimics human surgical outcomes.
Obesity continues to plague the U.S., with over one- third of Americans struggling to lose weight. Obesity is associated with high cholesterol, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and altered immune health. Bariatric surgery, in particular vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG), is a popular treatment option for weight loss. Although surgical and non-surgical weight loss improves immune health, the effects of bariatric surgery on the immune system are not completely understood.
In the current study, Dr. Grayson and colleagues investigated the role of the spleen in an animal model of VSG. The spleen, which destroys abnormal blood cells and is the major site of antibody production, is an important organ in the immune system. VSG animals lost significant amounts of body mass and fat mass and ate less in comparison to sham-operated animals. Interestingly, spleen removal had no impact on weight loss. In addition, spleen removal did not normalize immune health, specifically the reduced numbers of white blood cells observed after VSG. Dr. Grayson said, "There are many potential causes of reduced white blood cells that could be at play after surgical weight loss. In fact, loss of fat is linked to a reduction in the 'obesity hormone,' leptin. Leptin levels are greatly reduced after surgical weight loss because fat in the body is reduced. Leptin is also a stimulator of white blood cell production."
Dr. Steven R. Goodman, Editor-in-Chief of Experimental Biology & Medicine, said, "Grayson and colleagues have demonstrated that increased splenic weight and reduced peripheral blood lymphocytes, observed in prior bariatric vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG) studies, are independent events. Further reductions in B cells and T cells, in mice receiving VSG raises questions about altered immune response in response to bariatric surgery."
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SOURCE Experimental Biology and Medicine