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Diabetes Care. 2007 Dec;30(12):3063-9. Epub 2007 Sep 5.

Evaluation of polyneuropathy markers in type 1 diabetic kidney transplant patients and effects of islet transplantation: neurophysiological and skin biopsy longitudinal analysis.

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  • 1Department of Neurology and Clinical Neurophysiology, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy.



The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether islet transplantation may stabilize polyneuropathy in uremic type 1 diabetic patients (end-stage renal disease [ESRD] and type 1 diabetes), who received a successful islet-after-kidney transplantation (KI-s).


Eighteen KI-s patients underwent electroneurographic tests of sural, peroneal, ulnar, and median nerves: the nerve conduction velocity (NCV) index and amplitudes of both sensory action potentials (SAPs) and compound motor action potentials (CMAPs) were analyzed longitudinally at 2, 4, and 6 years after islet transplantation. Skin content of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) and expression of their specific receptors (RAGE) were also studied at the 4-year follow-up. Nine patients with ESRD and type 1 diabetes who received kidney transplantation alone (KD) served as control subjects.


The NCV score improved in the KI-s group up to the 4-year time point (P = 0.01 versus baseline) and stabilized 2 years later, whereas the same parameter did not change significantly in the KD group throughout the follow-up period or when a cross-sectional analysis between groups was performed. Either SAP or CMAP amplitudes recovered in the KI-s group, whereas they continued worsening in KD control subjects. AGE and RAGE levels in perineurium and vasa nervorum of skin biopsies were lower in the KI-s than in the KD group (P < 0.01 for RAGE).


Islet transplantation seems to prevent long-term worsening of polyneuropathy in patients with ESRD and type 1 diabetes who receive islets after kidney transplantation. No statistical differences between the two groups were evident on cross-sectional analysis. A reduction in AGE/RAGE expression in the peripheral nervous system was shown in patients receiving islet transplantation.

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