Promising hunger hormone suppression surgery
Findings from a study conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins Medical Institution in Baltimore, Maryland, and the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, show promise for hunger suppression that is less invasive than bariatric surgery but that could be just as effective. The researchers, using pigs, found a way to lower appetite by reducing the body’s production of the hunger hormone ghrelin. In order to do this, the researchers essentially vaporized the main blood vessel that carries blood to the fundus, the top section of the stomach and the main production center of ghrelin. The fundus, where 90% of ghrelin is created, needs a good blood supply to create the hunger hormone. Dr Aravind Arepally, clinical director of the Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design and associate professor of radiology and surgery at the John Hopkins University School of Medicine and lead author of the study, commenting, stated, “With gastric artery chemical embolization, called GACE, there’s no major surgery… In our study in pigs, this procedure produced an effect similar to bariatric surgery by suppressing ghrelin levels and subsequently lowering appetite.” The following is an excerpt of an article from Medical News Today that discusses the study more:
Arepally and colleagues wrote that the last ten years have seen several unsuccessful attempts to suppress grehlin safely and easily.
Bariatric surgery is where part of the stomach or bowel is either removed, reconstructed or bypassed. It suppresses appetite and results in significant weight loss. However, there are significant risks because it is an invasive and complex procedure.
Arepally explained that:
“Obesity is the biggest biomedical problem in the country, and a minimally invasive alternative would make an enormous difference in choices and outcomes for obese people.”
For the study, Arepally and colleagues worked with 10 healthy and growing pigs for 4 weeks. Pigs were chosen because they their bodies have similar anatomy and physiology to humans. Baseline readings for ghrelin and other measures were obtained by fasting the pigs overnight, weighing them and taking blood samples.
The pigs were then put into two groups, one for the treatment and the other was the control group. Both groups underwent a procedure that used X rays to guide the surgery where researchers inserted a thin tube in the large blood vessel near the groin and then into the left gastric arteries supplying blood to the stomach.