Hypertension, but not body mass index, is predictive of increased pancreatic lipid content and islet dysfunction

Am J Transplant. 2020 Apr;20(4):1105-1115. doi: 10.1111/ajt.15698. Epub 2019 Dec 16.


Pancreatic steatosis is thought to be a negative risk factor for pancreas transplant outcomes. Despite considering donor body mass index (BMI) and the visualization of intercalated fat as indicators of donor pancreas lipid content, transplant surgeons do not use a quantitative method to directly measure steatosis when deciding to transplant a pancreas. In this study, we used nondiabetic human pancreata donated for research to measure the pancreatic and islet-specific lipid content to determine which clinical markers correlate best with lipid content. Interestingly, we found that BMI and age correlate with increased pancreatic lipid content (Panc-LC) in men, but not women. Our findings further suggest that total Panc-LC correlates with an increase in islet lipid content for both men and women. We noted that pancreata donated from individuals with a history of hypertension have increased Panc-LC independent of donor BMI or sex. Moreover, we identify hypertension as a risk factor for reduced islet function after islet isolation. Together, our findings emphasize differences in pancreas graft quality related to pancreatic and islet lipid content, which may not be predicted by assessing BMI alone but may be influenced by a donor history of hypertension.

Keywords: basic (laboratory) research/science; donors and donation; hypertension/antihypertensives; organ procurement; organ procurement and allocation; organ transplantation in general; pancreas/simultaneous pancreas-kidney transplantation; translational research/science.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension*
  • Islets of Langerhans Transplantation*
  • Islets of Langerhans*
  • Male
  • Pancreas
  • Tissue Donors
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement*