Alterations of the female reproductive system in recipients of islet grafts

Transplantation. 2004 Dec 15;78(11):1576-81. doi: 10.1097/


Background: Transplantation of allogeneic tissues is becoming a wider practice for the replacement of organ function lost to congenital or acquired pathologies. Chronic immunosuppression remains a necessity to prevent organ rejection, despite increased risks of infection, organ toxicity, and malignancies. Abnormalities of female gonadal function in patients of reproductive age are recognized, however, pathological alterations of the reproductive system in patients treated with new generation immunosuppressive drugs are still poorly documented.

Methods: We report herein our observations of abnormalities of the reproductive system in 13 female recipients of allogeneic islets for type 1 diabetes, under immunosuppression therapy based on daclizumab induction and tacrolimus/sirolimus maintenance.

Results: Menstrual cycle alterations and clinically significant ovarian cysts were frequently observed in our patients, some requiring medical or surgical intervention. All ovarian cysts appeared of benign nature.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that pre- and posttransplant evaluation of female patients should include menstrual history, baseline pelvic ultrasound, and hormonal levels to assess the presence and monitor the progression of such alterations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child, Preschool
  • Estradiol / blood
  • Female
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / blood
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Islets of Langerhans Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Luteinizing Hormone / blood
  • Menstrual Cycle*
  • Middle Aged
  • Ovarian Cysts / etiology
  • Ovary / physiopathology*
  • Pelvis / diagnostic imaging
  • Progesterone / blood
  • Ultrasonography


  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Progesterone
  • Estradiol
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone