Feasibility Study of Bariatric Surgery in a Rat Model of Spinal Cord Injury to Achieve Beneficial Body Weight Outcome

Gregory M. Holmes, Lisa B. Willing, Nelli Horvath, Andras Hajnal

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Approximately two thirds of spinal cord injury (SCI) persons become overweight or obese. Obesity increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and limits self-help techniques. Weight-loss surgery (WLS), including vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG), is regarded as highly effective in the long-term treatment of obesity and remission of associated type 2 diabetes. Given the increased risk of obesity post-SCI, WLS offers an attractive intervention strategy. Alterations in the physiology of energy homeostasis after SCI necessitate that SCI persons should not be regarded as similar to able-bodied persons. Because of current knowledge gaps, it is unknown whether an obese phenotype with SCI will respond to WLS similarly to the neurally intact obese phenotype. Therefore, this study tested the hypothesis that the VSG procedure is well tolerated and effective in an animal model of high-thoracic (T3) SCI. In Wistar male rats, subsequent to a 2-week recovery period after T3-SCI, but not control laminectomy surgery, daily consumption of a high-fat diet (HFD; 60% kcal from fat) was elevated over 4 weeks preceding VSG. After a 2-week recovery period post-VSG, HFD consumption in T3-SCI rats over a 4-week monitoring period returned to levels comparable to control. Body weight was significantly reduced in T3-SCI rats and remained reduced whereas control rats regained body weight. Further, no adverse complications directly attributable to the VSG procedure were identified. Thus, this rodent model is a viable tool for addressing fundamental questions regarding the mechanisms leading to obesity post-SCI and the development of translational strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)292-298
Number of pages7
JournalNeurotrauma Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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