Enhancing weight loss: Gastric banding with hormone therapy

Scientists at the Institute for Diabetes and Obesity (IDO) at the Helmholtz Zentrum München, a partner within the DZD, and the Technical University of Munich working in collaboration with their American partners at the University of Cincinnati may have developed a new, more effective approach to the treatment of obesity. As the team of researchers headed by Prof. Matthias Tschöp, Director of the IDO, and Dr. Kirk Habegger of the Metabolic Disease Institute at the University of Cincinnati, USA, discovered, Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), a hormone formed in the gastro-intestinal tract, improves weight loss achieved by gastric banding.


Various surgical methods can be used to treat obesity. Adjustable gastric banding has the advantage over other surgical methods insofar as this operation is relatively uncomplicated and is tolerated better by patients. In addition, a gastric band can be surgically removed at any time. The main disadvantage, however, is that the resulting weight loss is not as great as that achieved through other surgical methods.

As the team of scientists headed by Professor Tschöp and Dr. Habegger have now discovered, activating the GPL-1 receptor can significantly augment the effects of gastric banding in obese and insulin resistant rodent models. A combination of adjustable gastric banding and such hormone therapy produced almost the same weight loss in obese rats as a gastric bypass. “However, the type of pharmacological approach is of key importance,” Prof. Tschöp stresses.

In future the researchers aim to test similar approaches in patients and to find out whether a combination of several hormones that are formed in the gastrointestinal tract can further enhance the effect of adjustable gastric banding. “We now believe that combination therapies will be the method of choice in future in the treatment of marked obesity,” Tschöp notes. “So-called polytherapy, which combines surgical and pharmacological elements, represents a new, highly promising approach. However, this also has not yet been tested in humans.”

Original publication:
Habegger, KM. et al. (2013), GLP-1R Agonism Enhances Adjustable Gastric Banding In Diet-Induced Obese Rats, Diabetes 2013 Jun 17 [Epub ahead of print].
Link to original publication