Brittle type 1 diabetes mellitus

Federico Bertuzzi, Roberto Verzaro, Vincenzo Provenzano, Camillo Ricordi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

A small group of patients affected by type 1 diabetes mellitus is characterized by a severe instability of glycemic values with frequent and unpredictable hypoglycemic and/or ketoacidosis episodes which cannot be explained by errors of patients or diabetologists. The quality of life of these patients is dramatically compromised in particular because of the frequency of acute events, hospital recoveries and precocious appearance of chronic complications. This clinical condition has been defined as "brittle diabetes". A precise quantification of these patients is difficult because diagnostic criteria are still not well defined and it is often difficult to verify errors of patients in terms of inappropriate conduct with the pathology. Even more than the other kinds of diabetes, therapy is based on education, glycemic control, intensive therapy and strict interaction between physicians and patients. The introduction of insulin analogous, with either ultra-fast and ultra-slow action and the use of subcutaneous insulin pumps have significantly increased the possibility of treating the most of these cases. However, there is a minority of patients resistant to the therapy. In similar cases, pancreas or islet transplantation represents an effective therapeutic option entailing good expected outcomes. The main limiting factor of beta cell function replacement by transplantation is so far represented by the potentially severe side effects of the immunosuppression therapy necessary to avoid graft rejection and recurrence of autoimmunity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1739-1744
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent medicinal chemistry
Volume14
Issue number16
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2007

Keywords

  • Brittle diabetes mellitus
  • Continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion
  • Immunosuppression therapy
  • Insulin analogues
  • Islet transplantation
  • Pancreas transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Pharmacology

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