Background: Obesity and type 2 diabetes are associated with impaired skeletal muscle mitochondrial metabolism. As an intrinsic characteristic of an individual, skeletal muscle mitochondrial dysfunction could be a risk factor for weight gain and obesity-associated co-morbidities, such as type 2 diabetes. On the other hand, impaired skeletal muscle metabolism could be a consequence of obesity. We hypothesize that marked weight loss after bariatric surgery recovers skeletal muscle mitochondrial function.
Methods: Skeletal muscle mitochondrial function as assessed by high-resolution respirometry was measured in 8 morbidly obese patients (body mass index [BMI], 41.3±4.7 kg/m(2); body fat, 48.3%±5.2%) before and 1 year after bariatric surgery (mean weight loss: 35.0±8.6 kg). The results were compared with a lean (BMI 22.8±1.1 kg/m(2); body fat, 15.6%±4.7%) and obese (BMI 33.5±4.2 kg/m(2); body fat, 34.1%±6.3%) control group.
Results: Before surgery, adenosine diphosphate (ADP)-stimulated (state 3) respiration on glutamate/succinate was decreased compared with lean patients (9.5±2.4 versus 15.6±4.4 O2 flux/mtDNA; P<.05). One year after surgery, mitochondrial function was comparable to that of lean controls (after weight loss, 12.3±5.5; lean, 15.6±4.4 O2 flux/mtDNA). In addition, we observed an increased state 3 respiration on a lipid substrate after weight loss (10.0±3.2 versus 14.0±6.6 O2 flux/mtDNA; P< .05).
Conclusion: We conclude that impaired skeletal muscle mitochondrial function is a consequence of obesity that recovers after marked weight loss.