Anesthesia and bariatric surgery gut preparation alter plasma acylcarnitines reflective of mitochondrial fat and branched-chain amino acid oxidation

Sudeepa Bhattacharyya, Mohamed R Ali, William H. Smith, Paul E. Minkler, Maria S. Stoll, Charles L. Hoppel, Sean H. Adams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The period around bariatric surgery offers a unique opportunity to characterize metabolism responses to dynamic shifts in energy, gut function, and anesthesia. We analyzed plasma acylcarnitines in obese women (n = 17) sampled in the overnight fasted/postabsorptive state approximately 1-2 wk before surgery (condition A), the morning of surgery (prior restriction to a 48-h clear liquid diet coupled in some cases a standard polyethylene glycol gut evacuation: condition B), and following induction of anesthesia (condition C). Comparisons tested if 1) plasma acylcarnitine derivatives reflective of fatty acid oxidation (FAO) and xenometabolism would be significantly increased and decreased, respectively, by preoperative gut preparation/negative energy balance (condition A vs. B), and 2) anesthesia would acutely depress markers of FAO. Acylcarnitines associated with fat mobilization and FAO were significantly increased in condition B: long-chain acylcarnitines (i.e., C18:1, ~70%), metabolites from active but incomplete FAO [i.e., C14:1 (161%) and C14:2 (102%)] and medium- to short-chain acylcarnitines [i.e., C2 (91%), R-3-hydroxybutyryl-(245%), C6 (45%), and cis-3,4-methylene-heptanoyl-(17%), etc.]. Branched-chain amino acid markers displayed disparate patterns [i.e., isobutyryl-(40% decreased) vs. isovaleryl carnitine (51% increased)]. Anesthesia reduced virtually every acylcarnitine. These results are consistent with a fasting-type metabolic phenotype coincident with the presurgical “gut preparation” phase of bariatric surgery, and a major and rapid alteration of both fat and amino acid metabolism with onset of anesthesia. Whether presurgical or anesthesia-associated metabolic shifts in carnitine and fuel metabolism impact patient outcomes or surgical risks remains to be evaluated experimentally.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E690-E698
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017


  • Butyrobetaine
  • Propofol
  • Xenobiotic
  • Xenometabolite
  • Xenometabolomics
  • β-oxidation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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