Gene Variant Helps Predicts Regain Of Weight After Bariatric Surgery

Jacqueline Alvarez-Leite MD, Ph.D Full Professor, UFMG Moore Laboratory Massachusetts General Interview with:
Jacqueline Alvarez-Leite  MD, Ph.D
Federal University of Minas Gerias in Brazil

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Alvarez-Leite : Obesity is now a global epidemic and bariatric surgery is now the main therapeutic option for those individuals with extreme obesity in which clinical treatments failed. However, a significant proportion of those patients regain the weight lost 3-4 years after surgery. Therefore, some metabolic or genetic trait may be related to weight regain. The rs9939609 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the fat mass and obesity- associated (FTO) gene is one of the most studied genes involved in obesity. However, few studies have been conducted on patients who underwent bariatric surgery. In our study, we evaluated the influence of  this FTO SNP on body weight and composition, and weight regain in 146 patients during a 60-mo follow-up period after bariatric surgery. We observed that there was a different evolution of weight loss in individual with obesity carriers of the FTO gene variant after bariatric surgery. However, this pattern is evident at only 2 y post bariatric
 surgery, inducing a lower proportion of surgery success (percentage of excess weight loss >50%) and greater and earlier weight regain after 3-y of follow-up. Multiple regression 
analyses showed that the variation in rs9939609 was a significant and independent predictor for regaining weight during the 
5-y follow-up period.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Alvarez-Leite : Interactions between genetic and environment dictate the intensity of weight loss in those patients. Patients that carry the FTO SNP rs993960 should pay attention in your diet and reinforce physical activity to compensate the genetic predisposition to regain weight.  It is important that clinicians know the genetic pattern of his/her patients to warn them about risks of surgery fail and to reinforce the importance of  patient monitoring. These strategies will make possible an early intervention, avoiding the failure of surgery and weight regained.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Alvarez-Leite : Some studies indicate that SNP rs9939609 may influence food preferences. However, it is not clear whether food choice or metabolic and hormonal alterations are determining factors in weight regain in those patients. The mechanisms by which FTO SNP lead to weight regained still deserve investigation.


Nutrition. 2015 Nov-Dec;31(11-12):1344-50. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2015.05.020. Epub 2015 Jun 25.

A single FTO gene variant rs9939609 is associated with body weight evolution in a multiethnic extremely obese population that underwent bariatric surgery.

Rodrigues GK1, Resende CM1, Durso DF1, Rodrigues LA1, Silva JL2, Reis RC2, Pereira SS3, Ferreira DC4, Franco GR1, Alvarez-Leite J5.

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Jacqueline Alvarez-Leite MD, Ph.D (2015). Gene Variant Helps Predicts Regain Of Weight After Bariatric Surgery