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Biol Psychiatry. 2012 Sep 1;72(5):354-60. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2012.01.035. Epub 2012 Mar 22.

Gastric bypass surgery attenuates ethanol consumption in ethanol-preferring rats.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Metabolic Diseases Institute, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio 45237, USA.



Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) surgery is an effective weight loss strategy employed to treat obesity and associated complications. Importantly, the RYGB procedure has been reported to attenuate reward-related consummatory behaviors. The present work examined the hypothesis that RYGB surgery attenuates ethanol intake and reward in the context of frequent ethanol consumption.


To do this, self-report of ethanol intake was examined in human bariatric patients (n = 6165) before and following the RYGB procedure. In addition, we utilized a rodent model of RYGB and examined ethanol consumption and ethanol reward in male ethanol-preferring (P) rats, which are selectively bred to consume large volumes of ethanol.


Patients that reported frequent consumption of ethanol before RYGB reported decreased consumption following RYGB surgery. Moreover, the RYGB procedure decreased ethanol intake and the reinforcing properties of ethanol in P rats. Notably, the attenuating effect of RYGB surgery on ethanol consumption was associated with ethanol-induced increases in the gut hormone glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). Pharmacologic administration of GLP-1 agonists attenuated ethanol consumption in sham P rats. In addition, pharmacologic replacement of the gut hormone ghrelin restored drinking behavior in P rats following RYGB.


Collectively, these findings unveil the potential of RYGB surgery to attenuate ethanol consumption in some humans and rats. Furthermore, our data indicate that this regulation is achieved, in part, through reduction of reward and is modified by the gut hormones GLP-1 and ghrelin.

Copyright © 2012 Society of Biological Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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