Changes in plasma free fatty acids in obese patients before and after bariatric surgery highlight alterations in lipid metabolism

Stephen J. Hierons, Kazim Abbas, Amelie Isabelle Sylvie Sobczak, Michela Cerone, Terry K Smith, Ramzi A. Ajjan, Alan J. Stewart*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)


Obesity is a complex disease that increases an individual’s risk of developing other diseases and health-related problems. A common feature is dyslipidemia characterized by increased levels of plasma lipids, which include non-esterified fatty acids (NEFAs). The role of NEFAs in obesity-related morbidity is interesting as NEFAs constitute a reservoir of metabolic energy, are principal components of cell membranes and are precursors for signalling molecules. Bariatric surgery promotes sustained weight loss in severely obese patients, reducing the incidence and severity of co-morbidities. In this study we measure changes in circulating NEFA species in plasma samples taken from 25 obese individuals before and 9 months after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery. The mean weight of the cohort reduced by 29.2% from 149.0±25.1 kg pre-surgery to 105.5±19.8 kg post-surgery and the BMI by 28.2% from 51.8±6.3 kg/m2 pre-surgery to 37.2±5.4 kg/m2. Mean glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) reduced from 6.5±1.3% to 5.5±0.5%, consistent with the intervention leading to improved glycaemic control, particularly in those who were dysglycemic prior to surgery. Total and LDL cholesterol concentrations were markedly reduced following surgery. Concentrations of seven NEFAs were found to decrease 9 months after surgery compared to pre-surgery levels: myristate, palmitoleate, palmitate, linoleate, oleate, stearate and arachidonate. Bariatric surgery led to increased lipogenesis and elongase activity and decreased stearoyl-CoA desaturase 1 activity. This study thus highlights metabolic changes that take place following gastric bypass surgery in severely obese patients.
Original languageEnglish
Article number15337
Number of pages10
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 12 Sept 2022


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