The Importance of Ghrelin for Glucose Metabolism After Sleeve Gastrectomy

  • End date
    Jun 25, 2023
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Hvidovre University Hospital
Updated on 25 March 2022
Accepts healthy volunteers


The overall aim is to delineate the contribution of ghrelin to glucose tolerance after sleeve gastrectomy. The hypothesis is that decreased concentration of ghrelin after SG is of importance for improved insulin secretion and glucose tolerance seen after SG. The expectation is therefore that infusion of ghrelin will impair insulin secretion and glucose tolerance compared with a control day without ghrelin infusion.


Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) and sleeve gastrectomy (SG) are bariatric procedures. Overwhelming evidence support bariatric surgery as the most effective treatment for severe obesity and related metabolic comorbidities, particularly type 2 diabetes mellitus.

The mechanisms of improved glycaemic control after SG are not fully understood and differ from those of RYGB. Interestingly, there is demonstrated a markedly lower secretion of the orexigenic hormone ghrelin after SG compared with both RYGB and unoperated obese controls. Hence, the decreased level of ghrelin could be of major importance in relation to the improved glucose tolerance after SG.

Ghrelin is secreted from the gastric mucosa in the fasting state and decreases in response to food intake. Administration of exogenous ghrelin reduces insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance in healthy humans and contributes to hyperglycaemia. In accordance, ghrelin receptor knockout in mice improves glucose sensitivity and enhances glucose-stimulated insulin secretion.

On this background the investigators hypothesize that the markedly reduced secretion of ghrelin after SG could therefore be of particularly importance for the improved glucose tolerance after this procedure.

This present study is complementary to an on-going study in SG operated subjects, where the role of ghrelin for appetite and insulin secretion during a mixed meal followed by an ad libitum meal are investigated. In the present study the effect of ghrelin on insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity is thoroughly investigated using methods eliminating the effect of other hormones on glucose metabolism.

Ghrelin will be infused in physiological doses aiming for plasma concentration after SG resembling the pre-operative plasma concentrations.

Specific aim is to evaluate the effect of ghrelin on both alpha and beta cell function as well as on liver and peripheral insulin sensitivity in individuals with SG using matched controls. The subjects will be investigated with both glucose and glycerol tracers, IVGTT and a hyperinsulinemic euglycaemic clamp.

Condition Bariatric Surgery Candidate, Glucose Metabolism Disorders
Treatment Placebo, ghrelin
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT05189353
SponsorHvidovre University Hospital
Last Modified on25 March 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Sleeve gastrectomy-operated > 12 months prior to inclusion
Weight stable (+/- 3 kg during the last 3 months)
Fasting glucose < 7,0 mmol/l / HbA1c < 48 mmol/mol pre- and postoperative
Signed written informed consent

Exclusion Criteria

Pregnancy or breastfeeding
Haemoglobin < 6,5 mM
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