Post-transplantation diabetes mellitus

Am J Med Sci. 2005 Feb;329(2):86-94. doi: 10.1097/00000441-200502000-00006.


Post-transplantation diabetes mellitus (PTDM) is defined as sustained hyperglycemia developing in any patient without history of diabetes before transplantation, that meets the current diagnostic criteria by the American Diabetes Association or the World Health Organization. Several risk factors have been identified: age, nonwhite ethnicity, and glucocorticoid therapy for rejection and chronic immunosuppression with cyclosporine and especially tacrolimus. The pathophysiology of this condition resembles that of type 2 diabetes mellitus: pretransplantation end-stage liver/renal and heart disease are insulin-resistant states, and after transplantation, glucocorticoids induce further peripheral insulin insensitivity. The "second hit" appears to be an acquired (yet reversible) insulin secretion defect resulting from the calcineurin inhibitors cyclosporine and tacrolimus. An international panel of experts has recently published the proceeding of a Consensus Conference proposing strategies for the screening, prevention and management of PTDM. Future directions include pre- and post-transplantation glucose load testing for high-risk individuals and pharmacological agents to decrease insulin resistance and to preserve beta-cell function.

Publication types

  • Clinical Conference

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / etiology*
  • Glucocorticoids / administration & dosage
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / complications
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Islets of Langerhans / metabolism
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / complications
  • Liver Cirrhosis / complications
  • Risk Factors
  • Signal Transduction
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Transplantation / adverse effects*


  • Glucocorticoids