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Curr Opin Organ Transplant. 2011 Feb;16(1):106-9. doi: 10.1097/MOT.0b013e3283424f44.

Graft dysfunction in pancreas and islet transplantation: morphological aspects.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21201, USA. cdrac001@umaryland.edu



β-Cell replacement in the form of whole pancreas transplantation (WPnTx) or islet transplantation has the goal of providing long-term insulin independence to diabetic patients that may require these types of interventions, with the minimum of iatrogenic side-effects and complications. In search of these ambitious and only partially achieved objectives, continuous advances are made in the field.


A concerted effort has been made in recent years to categorize the morphological features of allograft rejection in WPnTx. This has followed the general attempts to standardize histopathological and other diagnostic modalities in solid organ transplantation in general. Issues related to antibody-mediated rejection have taken center stage due to their perceived dramatic effects on both short and long-term graft survival. Another issue that diminishes the extent of success with WPnTx is the high incidence of posttransplant diabetes mellitus (PTDM). Understanding the mechanisms involved in this process is important for the development of potential therapeutic interventions and for its prevention.


This review will summarize the current understanding on the morphological features of antibody-mediated rejection in WPnTx, the main morphological and clinical aspects of PTDM, including recurrent autoimmune diabetes mellitus, and will briefly discuss histopathological data available on islet transplantation.

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