Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy improves brain connectivity in obese patients.
Obese individuals have shown functional abnormalities in frontal-limbic regions, and bariatric surgery is an effective treatment for morbid obesity. The aim of the study was to investigate how bariatric surgery modulates brain regional activation and functional connectivity (FC) to food cues, and whether the underlying structural connectivity (SC) alterations contribute to these functional changes as well as behavioral changes.A functional magnetic resonance imaging cue-reactivity task with high- (HiCal) and low-calorie (LoCal) food pictures and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) with deterministic tractography were used to investigate brain reactivity, FC and SC in 28 obese participants tested before and 1 month after laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy (LSG). Twenty-two obese controls (Ctr) without surgery were also tested at baseline and 1 month later.LSG significantly decreased right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) activation to HiCal versus LoCal cues and increased FC between DLPFC and ventral anterior cingulate cortex (vACC), which are regions involved in self-regulation of feeding behaviors. LSG also increased SC between DLPFC and ACC as quantified by fractional anisotropy. Increases in SC and FC between DLPFC and ACC were associated with greater reductions in BMI, and SC changes were positively correlated with FC changes. Increased SC between right DLPFC and ACC mediated the relationship between reduced BMI and increased right DLPFC-vACC FC; likewise, increases in right DLPFC-vACC FC mediated the relationship between increased right DLPFC-ACC SC and reduced BMI.LSG might induce weight loss in part by increasing SC and FC between DLPFC and ACC, and thus strengthening top-down control over food intake.