Background: Most patients with cirrhosis have insulin resistance and impaired glucose tolerance, and 20% eventually develop diabetes. Although diabetes in this setting may be reversible after orthotopic liver transplantation (OLTx), immunosuppressive agents administered after transplantation could exacerbate this disease. We report the results of the first pilot trial of islet cell transplantation (ICTx) in patients with diabetes undergoing OLTx.
Methods: Five patients with diabetes and liver cirrhosis underwent OLTx and ICTx. Donor bone marrow cells were also infused to enhance the acceptance of the graft. We identified seven patients who received only OLTx and donor bone marrow cells as historical controls.
Results: Preliminary results suggest that ICTx in conjunction with OLTx may improve glucose metabolism (insulin requirement, hemoglobin A1c) in patients with liver cirrhosis. However, there was virtually no change in pre- and posttransplant basal C-peptide levels in the recipients of OLTx + ICTx.
Conclusions: We are planning to further evaluate the effect of OLTx with or without ICTx in a randomized prospective trial, using euglycemic insulin clamp studies.