Reduced progression of diabetic microvascular complications with islet cell transplantation compared with intensive medical therapy

Transplantation. 2011 Feb 15;91(3):373-8. doi: 10.1097/TP.0b013e31820437f3.


Background: The effect of islet cell transplantation (ICT) on the progression of diabetic microvascular complications is not well understood.

Methods: We have conducted a prospective, crossover, cohort study comparing ICT with intensive medical therapy on the progression of diabetic nephropathy, retinopathy, and neuropathy.

Results: The rate of decline in glomerular filtration rate is slower after ICT than on medical therapy. There was significantly more progression of retinopathy in medically treated patients than post-ICT. There was a nonsignificant trend for improved nerve conduction velocity post-ICT.

Conclusions: ICT is associated with less progression of microvascular complications than intensive medical therapy. Multicenter, randomized trials are needed to further study the role of ICT in slowing the progression of diabetic complications.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / therapy*
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / etiology*
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / physiopathology
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / prevention & control*
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / epidemiology
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / epidemiology
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / epidemiology
  • Disease Progression*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Incidence
  • Insulin / therapeutic use*
  • Islets of Langerhans Transplantation*
  • Male
  • Microvessels / physiopathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin