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Is post-transplant diabetes reversible? (Research)

A post-transplantation diabetes mellitus (PTDM) is generally a common condition that arises by using immunosuppressive medicines similar to which are given before a hair transplant for preventing the rejection. Many people assume this condition to be permanent however, the new study says that it could be reversible or partly preventable.

The research by Vanderbilt University Medical Center is published in JCI Insight and is available online to view.

Alvin Powers is one of the authors from this study; he says that; “We hope these findings can be translated into clinical research as these results suggest ways that diabetes associated with immunosuppressive drugs can be prevented or treated more effectively. ”

The risk of post-transplantation diabetes mellitus (PTDM) is higher in such patients who have received stem cell transplants. When this transplant doesn’t match with their own body tissues, the transplant is rejected by the body and the patient develops symptoms of PTDM. On the basis of which transplant proceeded and which immunosuppressive drugs were used, post-transplant diabetes is much likely to hit at least one-third of people. Only some of them require an insulin-mediated treatment.

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Brian Engelhardt is an associate professor of Medicine and teaches at the Division of Hematology and Oncology at Vanderbilt. He says; “As a transplant physician, I like to fix problems, not cause a new one like PTDM.” He further adds;  “This exciting research points the way for future treatments to prevent or reverse this complication.”

There is no known cause of post-transplantation diabetes mellitus (PTDM) till the date but it is suspected that low insulin secretion is a vital factor in this. To understand how these immunosuppression medicines change the insulin secretion, the research team studied human transplanted islets into mice with immunodeficiency. These mice were treated with two common immunosuppressive drugs called tacrolimus (TAC) and sirolimus (SIR). Typically, both these medicines are a part of PTDM treatment.

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Both these drugs showed negative effects on the human grafted cells  which directly initiate diabetes. Tacrolimus (TAC) and sirolimus (SIR) mediated treatment still led the test subjects to compromised insulin secretion and processing. It also caused lower beta cell granules but higher macrophages production and an unusually speedy formation of amyloid deposits in these grafted human cells.

The immunosuppressive treatment was discontinued later on to see if these side effects are permanent or temporary. The results led to know that beta-cell function was changed to normal after this discontinued treatment. This experiment showed that the effects of such medicines on beta cells could be avoided.



Areeba Hussain

The author is a fulltime medical and healthcare writer. She graduated in Medical Microbiology and Immunology with distinction. Her areas of prime interest are medicine, medical technology, disease awareness, and research analysis. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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