Preclinical research implicates hypothalamic inflammation (HI) in obesity and type 2 diabetes pathophysiology. However, their pathophysiological relevance and potential reversibility need to be better defined. We sought to evaluate the effect of bariatric surgery (BS) on radiological biomarkers of HI and the association between the severity of such radiological alterations and post-BS weight loss (WL) trajectories. The utility of cerebrospinal fluid large extracellular vesicles (CSF-lEVs) enriched for microglial and astrocyte markers in studying HI was also explored.


We included 72 individuals with obesity (20 with and 52 without type 2 diabetes) and 24 control individuals. Participants underwent lumbar puncture and 3-T MRI at baseline and 1-year post-BS. We assessed hypothalamic mean diffusivity (MD) (higher values indicate lesser microstructural integrity) and the volume of the whole and main hypothalamic subregions. CSF-lEVs enriched for glial and astrocyte markers were determined by flow cytometry.


Compared with control group, the obesity and type 2 diabetes groups showed a larger volume and higher MD in the hypothalamic tubular inferior region, the area encompassing the arcuate nucleus. These radiological alterations were positively associated with baseline anthropometric and metabolic measures and improved post-BS. A larger baseline tubular inferior hypothalamic volume was independently related to lesser WL 1 and 2 years after BS. CSF-lEVs did not differ among groups and were unrelated to WL trajectories.


These findings suggest HI improvement after BS and may support a role for HI in modulating the WL response to these interventions.

This article contains supplementary material online at https://doi.org/10.2337/figshare.25627503.

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