Current Psychiatry Reports

, 21:117 | Cite as

Recent Advances in the Neurobiology of Altered Motivation Following Bariatric Surgery

  • Julianna N. Brutman
  • Sunil Sirohi
  • Jon F. DavisEmail author
Eating Disorders (S Wonderlich and S Engel, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Eating Disorders


Purpose of Review

There is compelling evidence in the clinical population that long-term weight loss secondary to bariatric surgery is mitigated by the reemergence of maladaptive feeding behaviors and in some cases new onset substance abuse.

Recent Findings

A review of the current literature suggests that physical restructuring of the GI tract during WLS alters secretion of feeding peptides and nutrient-sensing mechanisms that directly target the brain’s endogenous reward system, the mesolimbic dopamine system.


Post-surgical changes in GI physiology augment activation of the mesolimbic system. In some patients, this process may contribute to a reduced appetite for palatable food whereas in others it may support maladaptive motivated behavior for food and chemical drugs. It is concluded that future studies are required to detail the timing and duration of surgical-induced changes in GI-mesolimbic communication to more fully understand this phenomenon.


RYGB VSG Motivation Reward SUD Dopamine 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Julianna N. Brutman, Sunil Sirohi, and Jon F. Davis each declare no potential conflicts of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julianna N. Brutman
    • 1
  • Sunil Sirohi
    • 2
  • Jon F. Davis
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience, College of Veterinary MedicineWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA
  2. 2.Laboratory of Endocrine and Neuropsychiatric Disorders, Division of Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of PharmacyXavier University of LouisianaNew OrleansUSA

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