Peptide YY and glucagon-like peptide-1 contribute to decreased food intake after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery

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Exaggerated postprandial secretion of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and peptide YY (PYY) may explain appetite reduction and weight loss after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB), but causality has not been established. We hypothesized that food intake decreases after surgery through combined actions from GLP-1 and PYY. GLP-1 actions can be blocked using the GLP-1 receptor antagonist Exendin 9–39 (Ex-9), whereas PYY actions can be inhibited by the administration of a dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitor preventing the formation of PYY3–36.


Appetite-regulating gut hormones and appetite ratings during a standard mixed-meal test and effects on subsequent ad libitum food intake were evaluated in two studies: in study 1, nine patients with type 2 diabetes were examined prospectively before and 3 months after RYGB with and without Ex-9. In study 2, 12 RYGB-operated patients were examined in a randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover design on four experimental days with: (1) placebo, (2) Ex-9, (3) the DPP-4 inhibitor, sitagliptin, to reduce formation of PYY3–36 and (4) Ex-9/sitagliptin combined.


In study 1, food intake decreased by 35% following RYGB compared with before surgery. Before surgery, GLP-1 receptor blockage increased food intake but no effect was seen postoperatively, whereas PYY secretion was markedly increased. In study 2, combined GLP-1 receptor blockage and DPP-4 inhibitor mediated lowering of PYY3–36 increased food intake by ˜20% in RYGB patients, whereas neither GLP-1 receptor blockage nor DPP-4 inhibition alone affected food intake, perhaps because of concomitant marked increases in the unblocked hormone.


Blockade of actions from only one of the two L-cell hormones, GLP-1 and PYY3–36, resulted in concomitant increased secretion of the other, probably explaining the absent effect on food intake on these experimental days. Combined blockade of GLP-1 and PYY actions increased food intake after RYGB, supporting that these hormones have a role in decreased food intake postoperatively.

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