Islet Transplants May Decrease Type 1 Atherosclerosis Risk

| Jan 5, 2013

Narrowed and hardened arteries-atherosclerosis-are a common risk associated with type 1 diabetes. Fat, cholesterol, and other substances build up to create plaque, which narrows the arteries and makes blood flow more difficult. The increased risk of blood clots often leads to heart attacks and strokes.

Now a University of Chicago study shows that transplanting pancreatic islets to type 1s significantly reduces carotid artery thickness, lowering both A1c levels and the attendant risk of atherosclerosis. (The carotid arteries are the major vessels that carry blood to and from the head.)

The transplanted islets include insulin-producing beta cells, which in type 1s have been destroyed by an autoimmune attack. By giving transplant recipients some insulin-producing ability, the islets allow them to lower their A1c levels, which researchers say leads to reduced carotid artery thickness.

The University of Chicago research team led by Kristie K. Danielson, PhD, studied 15 type 1 patients who underwent transplant surgeries. Twelve months after the surgery, the thickness of the patients' carotid arteries decreased by an average 0.058 mm. The decrease in thickness continued in some cases for up to 50 months.

Researchers think that the re-introduction of insulin-making capability in the type 1 patients reduced inflammation by lowering blood sugar levels, leading to less stress on their arteries. However, they did not suggest that islet transplantation either directly prevented or reduced atherosclerosis.

Islet transplantation, in which still-functioning pancreatic beta cells are taken from cadavers, is one of the most assertive approaches to treating type 1 diabetes. The procedure is costly, due to its complexity, the lack of an abundant supply of donors, and the need for recipients to take immune system-suppressing drugs to avert rejection of the transplanted cells.

Click Here To View Or Post Comments

Categories: A1C, Diabetes Health, Diabetes Health Magazine, Diabetic, Heart Care & Heart Disease, Type 1 Issues

Take the Diabetes Health Pump Survey
See What's Inside
Read this FREE issue now
For healthcare professionals only
  • 12th Annual Product Reference Guide
  • Insulin Syringe Chart
  • Insulin Pen Needles Chart
  • Fast-Acting Glucose
  • Sharps Disposal
  • Blood Glucose Meters Chart
  • Insulin Pumps Chart
See the entire table of contents here!

You can view the current or previous issues of Diabetes Health online, in their entirety, anytime you want.
Click Here To View

See if you qualify for our free healthcare professional magazines. Click here to start your application for Pre-Diabetes Health, Diabetes Health Pharmacist and Diabetes Health Professional.

Learn More About the Professional Subscription

Free Diabetes Health e-Newsletter

Top Rated
Print | Email | Share | Comments (0)

You May Also Be Interested In...


Add your comments about this article below. You can add comments as a registered user or anonymously. If you choose to post anonymously your comments will be sent to our moderator for approval before they appear on this page. If you choose to post as a registered user your comments will appear instantly.

When voicing your views via the comment feature, please respect the Diabetes Health community by refraining from comments that could be considered offensive to other people. Diabetes Health reserves the right to remove comments when necessary to maintain the cordial voice of the diabetes community.

For your privacy and protection, we ask that you do not include personal details such as address or telephone number in any comments posted.

Don't have your Diabetes Health Username? Register now and add your comments to all our content.

Have Your Say...

Username: Password:
©1991-2015 Diabetes Health | Home | Privacy | Press | Advertising | Help | Contact Us | Donate | Sitemap

Diabetes Health Medical Disclaimer

The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained on or available through this website is for general information purposes only. Opinions expressed here are the opinions of writers, contributors, and commentators, and are not necessarily those of Diabetes Health. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website.