Background: Pancreas transplants are rarely done in type 2 (noninsulin dependent) diabetic patients. Most researchers believe that in type 2 diabetic patients, peripheral insulin resistance plays a central role and also is associated with relative insulin deficiency or an insulin secretory defect. This suggests that in patients receiving transplants, the new beta cells will be overstimulated, leading to beta cell "exhaustion" and graft failure.
Methods: Early in our experience, simultaneous pancreas-kidney transplant candidates were selected using only clinical criteria for type 1 diabetes, i.e., early onset of diabetes and rapid onset of insulin use. Pretransplant sera were available for C-peptide analysis in 70 of 94 of those patients. Forty-four percent (31/70) were African American (AA).
Results: Thirteen patients (12 AA) with a nonfasting C-peptide level >1.37 ng/ml were identified. In these patients with high C-peptide levels, pancreas and kidney survival rates were 10O%. The results did not differ statistically from the low C-peptide group (< or =1.37 ng/ ml). There were no differences between patient and pancreas-kidney survival rates when the patients were separated into AA and non-AA groups. The follow-up was 1-89 months, with a mean of 45.5 months.
Conclusions: Long-term pancreas graft function is attainable and beta cell "exhaustion" does not occur in patients with high preoperative C-peptide (>1.37 ng/ ml) levels. AA and non-AA patients have equivalent long-term patient, kidney, and pancreas-kidney graft survival rates.