Novel views on new-onset diabetes after transplantation: development, prevention and treatment

Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2013 Mar;28(3):550-66. doi: 10.1093/ndt/gfs583. Epub 2013 Jan 17.


New-onset diabetes after transplantation (NODAT) is associated with increased risk of allograft failure, cardiovascular disease and mortality, and therefore, jeopardizes the success of renal transplantation. Increased awareness of NODAT and the prediabetic states (impaired fasting glucose and impaired glucose tolerance, IGT) has fostered previous and present recommendations, based on the management of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Unfortunately, the idea that NODAT merely resembles T2DM is potentially misleading, because the opportunity to initiate adequate anti-hyperglycaemic treatment early after transplantation might be given away for 'tailored' immunosuppression in patients who have developed NODAT or carry personal risk factors. Risk factor-independent mechanisms, however, seem to render postoperative hyperglycaemia with subsequent development of overt or 'full-blown' NODAT, the unavoidable consequence of the transplant and immunosuppressive process itself, at least in many cases. A proof of the concept that timely preventive intervention with exogenous insulin against post-transplant hyperglycaemia may decrease NODAT was recently provided by a small clinical trial, which is awaiting confirmation from a multicentre study. However, because early insulin therapy aimed at beta-cell protection seems to contrast the currently recommended, stepwise approach of 'watchful waiting' prior to pancreatic decompensation, we here aim at reviewing recent concepts regarding the development, prevention and treatment of NODAT, some of which seem to challenge the traditional view on T2DM and NODAT. In summary, we suggest a novel, risk factor-independent management approach to NODAT, which includes glycaemic monitoring and anti-hyperglycaemic treatment in virtually everybody after transplantation. This approach has widespread implications for future research and is intended to tackle NODAT and also ultimately cardiovascular disease.

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / etiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Organ Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Risk Factors