Enhancing weight loss: Gastric banding with hormone therapy

Neuherberg, June 21, 2013. Scientists at the Institute for Diabetes and Obesity (IDO) at the Helmholtz Zentrum München and the Technical University of Munich working in collaboration with their American partners at the University of Cincinnati may have developed a new, more effective approach to the treatment of obesity. As the team of researchers headed by Prof. Matthias Tschöp, Director of the IDO, and Dr. Kirk Habegger of the Metabolic Disease Institute at the University of Cincinnati, USA, discovered, Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), a hormone formed in the gastro-intestinal tract, improves weight loss achieved by gastric banding.

Prof. Dr. Matthias Tschöp, Institute of Diabetes and Obesity; Photo: Helmholtz Zentrum München

Various surgical methods can be used to treat obesity. Adjustable gastric banding has the advantage over other surgical methods insofar as this operation is relatively uncomplicated and is tolerated better by patients. In addition, a gastric band can be surgically removed at any time. The main disadvantage, however, is that the resulting weight loss is not as great as that achieved through other surgical methods.

As the team of scientists headed by Professor Tschöp and Dr. Habegger have now discovered, activating the GPL-1 receptor can significantly augment the effects of gastric banding in obese and insulin resistant rodent models. A combination of adjustable gastric banding and such hormone therapy produced almost the same weight loss in obese rats as a gastric bypass. “However, the type of pharmacological approach is of key importance,” Prof. Tschöp stresses.

In future the researchers aim to test similar approaches in patients and to find out whether a combination of several hormones that are formed in the gastrointestinal tract can further enhance the effect of adjustable gastric banding. “We now believe that combination therapies will be the method of choice in future in the treatment of marked obesity,” Tschöp notes. “So-called polytherapy, which combines surgical and pharmacological elements, represents a new, highly promising approach. However, this also has not yet been tested in humans.”

Further information

Original publication:
Habegger, KM. et al. (2013), GLP-1R Agonism Enhances Adjustable Gastric Banding In Diet-Induced Obese Rats, Diabetes 2013 Jun 17 [Epub ahead of print].

Link to publication

The Helmholtz Zentrum München, the German Research Center for Environmental Health, pursues the goal of developing personalized medical approaches for the prevention and therapy of major common diseases such as diabetes and lung diseases. To achieve this, it investigates the interaction of genetics, environmental factors and lifestyle. The Helmholtz Zentrum München is headquartered in Neuherberg in the north of Munich and has about 2,100 staff members. It is a member of the Helmholtz Association, a community of 18 scientific-technical and medical-biological research centers with a total of about 34,000 staff members.

The German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD) brings together experts in the field of diabetes research and interlinks basic research, epidemiology and clinical applications. Members are the German Diabetes Center in Düsseldorf, the German Institute of Human Nutrition (DIfE) in Potsdam-Rehbrücke, Helmholtz Zentrum München – German Research Center for Environmental Health, the Paul Langerhans Institutes of the University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus in Dresden and the University of Tübingen, as well as the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Association and the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. The objective of the DZD is to find answers to open questions in diabetes research by means of a novel, integrative research approach and to make a significant contribution to improving the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diabetes mellitus.

The Institute of Diabetes and Obesity (IDO) studies the diseases of the metabolic syndrome by means of systems biological and translational approaches on the basis of cellular systems, genetically modified mouse models and clinical intervention studies. It seeks to discover new signaling pathways in order to develop innovative therapeutic approaches for the personalized prevention and treatment of obesity, diabetes and their concomitant diseases. IDO is part of the Diabetes Research Department of Helmholtz Zentrum München.


Specialist contact
Prof. Dr. Matthias Tschöp, Helmholtz Zentrum München - German Research Center for Environmental Health (GmbH), Institute of Diabetes and Obesity, Ingolstädter Landstr. 1, 85764 Neuherberg; Tel. +49 89 3187-2103;