Succesful transplantation of human islets in recipients bearing a kidney graft

F. Bertuzzi, F. Grohovaz, P. Maffi, A. Caumo, L. Aldrighetti, R. Nano, P. Hengster, G. Calori, V. Di Carlo, E. Bonifacio, A. Secchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims/hypothesis. Islet transplantation is a minimally invasive approach to curing Type I (insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus. Success has recently been reported in patients receiving solitary islet transplants but the outcome in patients receiving islets together with, or after, kidney transplants has been limited and unpredictable. Methods. Here we report successful islet transplantation in a cohort of 15 patients with Type I diabetes who were followed for at least 1 year after islet transplantation, after having already received kidney allografts because of end-stage nephropathy. Results. C-peptide after transplantation was higher than 0.17 nmol/1 in all 15 recipients, reflecting the absence of primary non-function. Insulin requirement was reduced by over 50% in all but one patient, and insulin independence was achieved in 10 (66 %) recipients, five of whom now have stable, prolonged insulin independence, well controlled fasting glycaemia, a substantial first-phase and normal second-phase response to glucose, normal insulin sensitivity (HOMA analyses) and HbA1c of under 6.2% (33, 26, 18, 13 and 12 months after transplantation respectively). Of importance for patient management, an assessment of fasting blood glucose and proinsulin values following overnight withdrawal of insulin administration one month after transplantation was a potent predictor of insulin independence, and could be used to decide patients who should have further islet preparations. Conclusion/interpretation. These findings support the use of islet transplantation as a cure for Type I diabetes in patients with severe complications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-84
Number of pages8
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Arginine test
  • Insulin release
  • Insulin resistance
  • Intravenous glucose tolerance test
  • Islet transplantation
  • Kidney transplantation
  • Primary non-function
  • Proinsulin release

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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