Glucose Metabolism After Renal Transplantation

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

We determined prevalence, risk factors, phenotype, and pathophysiological mechanism of new-onset diabetes after transplantation (NODAT) to generate strategies for optimal pharmacological management of hyperglycemia in NODAT patients.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS

Retrospective cohort study comparing demographics, laboratory data, and oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT)-derived metabolic parameters from kidney transplant recipients versus subjects not receiving transplants.

RESULTS

Among 1,064 stable kidney transplant recipients (≥6 months posttransplantation), 113 (11%) had a history of NODAT and 132 (12%) had pretransplant diabetes. In the remaining patients, randomly assigned OGTTs showed a high prevalence of abnormal glucose metabolism (11% diabetes; 32% impaired fasting glucose, impaired glucose tolerance, or both), predominantly in older patients who received tacrolimus as the primary immunosuppressant. Compared with 1,357 nontransplant subjects, stable kidney transplant recipients had lower basal glucose, higher glycated hemoglobin, lower insulin secretion, and greater insulin sensitivity in each of the three subgroups, defined by OGTT 2-h glucose (<140, 140–199, ≥200 mg/dL). These findings were reinforced in linear spline interpolation models of insulin secretion and sensitivity (all P < 0.001) and in another regression model in which the estimated oral glucose insulin sensitivity index was substantially higher (by 79–112 mL/min m2) for transplant versus nontransplant subjects despite adjustments for age, sex, and BMI (all P < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Glucose metabolism differs substantially between kidney transplant recipients and nontransplant controls. Because impaired insulin secretion appears to be the predominant pathophysiological feature after renal transplantation, early therapeutic interventions that preserve, maintain, or improve β-cell function are potentially beneficial in this population.

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