Long-term effects of pancreatic transplantation on diabetic neuropathy

Ann Neurol. 1997 Nov;42(5):727-36. doi: 10.1002/ana.410420509.


Restoration of a long-lasting euglycemic state by a functioning pancreatic transplantation (PTx) is the most logical treatment for insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus and for amelioration of secondary complications, including neuropathy. We evaluated neurological function by clinical examination, nerve conduction studies, and autonomic function tests in 115 patients with a functioning PTx and in 92 control patients treated with insulin, at baseline and 1, 2, 3.5, 5, 7, and 10 years later. In control patients, neuropathy progressively worsened during follow-up. The clinical examination score and composite indices of abnormality of motor and sensory nerve conduction decreased significantly at all intervals tested. Autonomic function indices also decreased, but significantly only after 1 year. In patients who received a successful PTx the neuropathy improved. The motor and sensory nerve conduction indices increased significantly at all intervals after transplantation, whereas the clinical examination and autonomic tests improved only slightly. Patients who received either a PTx alone, a PTx after a kidney graft, or simultaneous pancreatic and kidney transplantations improved similarly over the follow-up. These results indicate that a functioning PTx halts the progression and improves the signs of diabetic polyneuropathy by restoration of a normoglycemic state.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Autonomic Nervous System / physiopathology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / surgery*
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neural Conduction
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Pancreas Transplantation*
  • Time Factors