Weight-loss surgery does more than help individuals shed pounds. New research has shown bariatric surgery can also reverse the symptoms of fatty liver disease, suggesting such procedures alter DNA.
The findings, published in the journal Cell Metabolism, add to the growing list of weight-loss surgery's health benefits, which include putting Type 2 diabetes into remission.
To reach their conclusions, researchers from University Hospital Dresden, Germany, analyzed liver samples from 63 normal and obese patients — some with fatty liver disease and some without.
Lead researcher Joseph Hampe, M.D., said when investigators compared patients' liver biopsies before and after weight-loss surgery, they found changes in DNA of the liver disease samples apparently caused by the procedure, suggesting the condition is reversible.
"These DNA modifications may point to the first steps in the evolution of the disease and may thus direct future research," said Dr. Hampe. "In the very long term, they may lead to new therapeutic options."
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease — a spectrum of liver disorders in people with obesity and Type 2 diabetes — is the most common chronic liver disorder in industrialized countries.
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