We evaluated the hormonal and metabolic responses of denervated pancreas allografts in nine volunteers 3 to 12 months after the transplant (initial) and again 1 year later (follow-up). Eight of the patients received simultaneous pancreas-kidney transplants. The glucose clamp technique was used to create a square wave of hyperglycemia 5.5 mmol/L above the basal glucose level for 2 hours. A biphasic insulin response was evident in each subject, both initially and at follow-up. The initial plasma insulin response was fourfold higher in patients with pancreas-kidney transplants than in normal volunteers. However, the plasma insulin response of the patients with pancreas-kidney transplants at the follow-up study was more similar to that of the normal controls. The plasma glucagon levels were elevated in follow-up clamp studies. Hepatic glucose production and glucose disposal were similar in both studies. At the follow-up examination only, GLUT4, the major insulin-sensitive glucose transporter, was measured in muscle homogenates by immunoblotting. GLUT4 levels in the patients with pancreas-kidney transplants were only 55% as abundant as in normal volunteers. This may be due, in part, to immunosuppressive therapy or to persistent, albeit reduced, levels of hyperinsulinemia even 2 years after transplantation. We concluded that, despite systemic drainage of the pancreas and immunosuppressive therapy, pancreatic insulin secretion, peripheral insulin levels, and muscle insulin responsiveness are restored toward normal levels approximately 2 years after the transplant.
ASJC Scopus subject areas