Extensive weight loss reduces glycan age by altering IgG N-glycosylation

Valentina L Greto, Ana Cvetko, Tamara Štambuk, Niall J Dempster, Domagoj Kifer, Helena Deriš, Ana Cindrić, Frano Vučković, Mario Falchi, Richard S Gillies, Jeremy W Tomlinson, Olga Gornik, Bruno Sgromo, Tim D Spector, Cristina Menni, Alessandra Geremia, Carolina V Arancibia-Cárcamo, Gordan Lauc

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Obesity, a major global health problem, is associated with increased cardiometabolic morbidity and mortality. Protein glycosylation is a frequent posttranslational modification, highly responsive to inflammation and ageing. The prospect of biological age reduction, by changing glycosylation patterns through metabolic intervention, opens many possibilities. We have investigated whether weight loss interventions affect inflammation- and ageing-associated IgG glycosylation changes, in a longitudinal cohort of bariatric surgery patients. To support potential findings, BMI-related glycosylation changes were monitored in a longitudinal twins cohort.

METHODS: IgG N-glycans were chromatographically profiled in 37 obese patients, subjected to low-calorie diet, followed by bariatric surgery, across multiple timepoints. Similarly, plasma-derived IgG N-glycan traits were longitudinally monitored in 1680 participants from the TwinsUK cohort.

RESULTS: Low-calorie diet induced a marked decrease in the levels of IgG N-glycans with bisecting GlcNAc, whose higher levels are usually associated with ageing and inflammatory conditions. Bariatric surgery resulted in extensive alterations of the IgG N-glycome that accompanied progressive weight loss during 1-year follow-up. We observed a significant increase in digalactosylated and sialylated glycans, and a substantial decrease in agalactosylated and core fucosylated IgG N-glycans (adjusted p value range 7.38 × 10-04-3.94 × 10-02). This IgG N-glycan profile is known to be associated with a younger biological age and reflects an enhanced anti-inflammatory IgG potential. Loss of BMI over a 20 year period in the TwinsUK cohort validated a weight loss-associated agalactosylation decrease (adjusted p value 1.79 × 10-02) and an increase in digalactosylation (adjusted p value 5.85 × 10-06).

CONCLUSIONS: Altogether, these findings highlight that weight loss substantially affects IgG N-glycosylation, resulting in reduced glycan and biological age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1521-1531
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
Issue number7
Early online date3 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


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