Islet cell function in long-term surviving primates after segmental pancreatic allotransplantation
Islet cell function was studied in pancreatectomized primates with functioning segmental pancreatic allografts more than 100 days after transplantation. Segmental allograft recipients were immunosuppressed with total lymphoid irradiation (TL1) and cyclosporine (SCA). After 100 days, islet function was assessed, at which stage immunosuppression was terminated. Glucose, insulin, glucagon, and C-peptide response was assessed during intravenous glucose tolerance test (IVGTT) and during arginine and tolbutamide stimulation. In eight normoglycaemic primates in which immunosuppressive treatment had been stopped and with mean graft survival of 145 days, islet stimulation was associated with moderate glucose intolerance, reduced K-values, hypoinsulinaemia, and low C-peptide values. Postmortem findings in all animals intentionally killed revealed severe graft atrophy in the absence of significant rejection. Severe graft atrophy in normoglucaemic primates, together with significantly impaired graft function after segmental pancreatic transplantation compared to normal animals, suggest that transplantation of the whole pancreas may be mandatory if normal or near-normal function is to be achieved.