BACKGROUND: Diabetic nephropathy is the leading cause of chronic kidney disease. Observational studies suggest Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) reduces progression of diabetic nephropathy.
OBJECTIVES: To unravel the mechanisms by which RYGB is beneficial and protective for diabetic nephropathy.
SETTING: Academic laboratories.
METHODS: Forty-eight Zucker diabetic fatty rats were randomized to RYGB, sham surgery (SHAM), or pair-fed (PF) groups. An oral glucose tolerance test was performed at 25 days post intervention and kidneys were harvested at 30 days. Primary outcome measures included expression of key genes and proteins in the glucose transport, oxidative stress, inflammation, and fibrosis pathways.
RESULTS: Thirty days post intervention, RYGB rats weighed 349 ± 8 g, which was lower than SHAM (436 ± 14 g, P < .001), but not PF (374 ± 18 g) rats. RYGB rats had lower fasting glucose than PF animals and improved homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance compared with PF and SHAM groups. These enhanced metabolic outcomes were accompanied by reduced sodium-glucose co-transporter 1 (Sglt1) gene expression (-23% versus PF, P = .01) in the kidney of RYGB rats. Expression of Sglt2, Glut1, or Glut2 mRNA, or oxidative stress and inflammation markers did not differ significantly. However, RYGB surgery induced a 19% lower expression of transforming growth factor (Tgfβ) mRNA (P = .004) compared with SHAM treated animals. Notably, adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase phosphorylation was increased (P = .04) in kidneys of the RYGB surgery animals.
CONCLUSIONS: Improvement of hyperglycemia after RYGB may reduce the glucose load on the kidney leading to a downregulation of specific glucose transporters. RYGB surgery may also attenuate kidney fibrosis through the adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase/TGFβ pathway.
Keywords: Bariatric surgery Diabetes Diabetic nephropathy Gastric bypass RYGB Transforming growth factor Weight loss