This report provides our initial experience in islet isolation and intrahepatic allotransplantation in 21 patients. In group 1, 10 patients underwent combined liver-islet allotransplantation following upper-abdominal exenteration for cancer. In group 2, 4 patients received a combined liver- islet allograft for cirrhosis and diabetes. One patient had plasma C-peptide >3 pM and was therefore excluded from analysis. In group 3, 7 patients received 8 combined cadaveric kidney-islet grafts (one retransplant) for end- stage renal disease secondary to type 1 diabetes mellitus. The islets were separated by a modification of the automated method for human islet isolation and the preparations were infused into the portal vein. Immunosuppression was with FK506 (group 1) plus steroids (groups 2 and 3). Six patients in group 1 did not require insulin treatment for 5 to >16 months. In groups 2 and 3 none of the patients became insulin-independent, although decreased insulin requirement and stabilization of diabetes were observed. Our results indicate that rejection is still a major factor limiting the clinical application of islet transplantation in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus, although other factors such as steroid treatment may contribute to deteriorate islet engraftment and/or function.
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