Improved Glucose Tolerance in a Kidney Transplant Recipient With Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus After Switching From Tacrolimus To Belatacept: A Case Report and Review of Potential Mechanisms

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Abstract

The introduction of immunosuppressant belatacept, an inhibitor of the CD28-80/86 pathway, has improved 1-year outcomes in kidney transplant recipients with preexistent diabetes mellitus and has also reduced the risk of posttransplant diabetes mellitus. So far, no studies have compared a tacrolimus-based with a belatacept-based immunosuppressive regimen with regard to improving glucose tolerance after kidney transplantation. Here, we present the case of a 54-year-old man with type 2 diabetes mellitus who was converted from belatacept to tacrolimus 1 year after a successful kidney transplantation. Thereafter, he quickly developed severe hyperglycemia, and administration of insulin was needed to improve metabolic control. Six months after this episode, he was converted back to belatacept because of nausea, diarrhea, and hyperglycemia. After switching back to belatacept and within 4 days after stopping tacrolimus glucose tolerance improved and insulin therapy could be discontinued. Although belatacept is considered less diabetogenic than tacrolimus, the rapid improvement of glucose tolerance after switching to belatacept is remarkable. In this article, the potential mechanisms of this observation are discussed.

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