Metabolomic fingerprint of severe obesity is dynamically affected by bariatric surgery in a procedure-dependent manner1,2

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Obesity is associated with multiple diseases. Bariatric surgery is the most effective therapy for severe obesity that can reduce body weight and obesity-associated morbidity. The metabolic alterations associated with obesity and respective changes after bariatric surgery are incompletely understood.


We comprehensively assessed metabolic alterations associated with severe obesity and distinct bariatric procedures.


In our longitudinal observational study, we applied a 1Hnuclear magnetic resonance-based global, untargeted metabolomics strategy on human serum samples that were collected before and repeatedly ≤1 y after distinct bariatric procedures [i.e., a sleeve gastrectomy, proximal Roux-en Y gastric bypass (RYGB), and distal RYGB]. For comparison, we also analyzed serum samples from normal-weight and less-obese subjects who were matched for 1-y postoperative body mass index (BMI) values of the surgical groups.


We identified a metabolomic fingerprint in obese subjects that was clearly discriminated from that of normal-weight subjects. Furthermore, we showed that bariatric surgery (sleeve gastrectomy and proximal and distal RYGB) dynamically affected this fingerprint in a procedure-dependent manner, thereby establishing new fingerprints that could be discriminated from those of BMI-matched and normal-weight control subjects. Metabolites that largely contributed to the metabolomic fingerprints of severe obesity were aromatic and branched-chain amino acids (elevated), metabolites related to energy metabolism (pyruvate and citrate; elevated), and metabolites suggested to be derived from gut microbiota (formate, methanol, and isopropanol; all elevated).


Our data indicate that bariatric surgery, irrespective of the specific kind of procedure used, reverses most of the metabolic alterations associated with obesity and suggest profound changes in gut microbiome-host interactions after the surgery. This trial was registered at as NCT02480322. Am J Clin Nutr 2015;102:1313–22.

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