Immunomodulatory effect of a very-low-calorie ketogenic diet compared with bariatric surgery and a low-calorie diet in patients with excessive body weight
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Background & aim Inflammation and oxidative stress are the most probable mechanistic link between obesity and its co-diseases with cancer among them. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether the nutritional ketosis and weight loss induced by a very-low-calorie ketogenic diet (VLCKD) modulates the inflammatory and oxidative stress profile, compared with a standard, balanced hypocaloric diet (LCD) or bariatric surgery (BS) in patients with obesity. Methods The study was performed in 79 patients with overweight or obesity and 32 normal-weight volunteers as the control group. Patients with obesity underwent a weight reduction therapy based on VLCKD, LCD or BS. The quantification of the circulating levels of a multiplexing test of cytokines and carcinogenesis/aging biomarkers, as well as of lipid peroxides and total antioxidant power, was carried out. Results First, we observed that pro-inflammatory cytokines increase, while anti-inflammatory cytokines decrease under excessive body weight. Relevantly, when patients underwent weight loss strategies, it was shown that energy-restricted and surgical strategies of weight loss induced changes in circulating cytokine and lipid peroxides. This effect was more notable in patients following the VLCKD than the LCD or BS and it was observed mainly in the ketosis phase of the intervention. Particularly, IL-11, IL-12, IL-2, INF-γ, INF-β, Pentraxin-3 or MMP1 changed after VLCKD. Whereas, APRIL, TWEAK, osteocalcin and IL-28A increased after BS. Conclusion As far as we know, this is the first study that evaluate the time-course of cytokines and oxidative stress markers after a VLCKD as compared with a standard LCD and BS. The observed results support the immunomodulatory effect of nutritional ketosis induced by a VLCKD synergistically with weight loss as a strategy to improve innate-immunity and to prevent infections and carcinogenesis in patients with obesity.