Impaired proinsulin processing is a characteristic of transplanted islets.
We sought to determine whether recipients of islet transplants have defective proinsulin processing. Individuals who had islet allo- or autotransplantation were compared to healthy nondiabetic subjects. Insulin (I), total proinsulin (TP), intact proinsulin and C-peptide (CP) were measured in samples of fasting serum by immunoassay, and the ratios of TP/TP+I and TP/CP were calculated. Islet allotransplant recipients had elevated TP levels relative to nondiabetic controls (16.8 [5.5-28.8] vs. 8.4 [4.0-21.8] pmol/L; p < 0.05) and autologous transplant recipients (7.3 [0.3-82.3] pmol/L; p < 0.05). Islet autotransplant recipients had significantly higher TP/TP+I ratios relative to nondiabetic controls (35.9 +/- 6.4 vs. 13.9 +/- 1.4%; p < 0.001). Islet allotransplant recipients, some of whom were on insulin, tended to have higher TP/TP+I ratios. The TP/CP ratio was significantly higher in both islet autotransplant (8.9 [0.6-105.2]; p < 0.05) and allotransplant recipients (2.4 [0.8-8.8]; p < 0.001) relative to nondiabetic controls (1.4 [0.5-2.6]%). Consistent with these findings, TP/TP+I and TP/CP values in islet autotransplant recipients increased significantly by 1-year posttransplant compared to preoperative levels (TP/CP: 3.8 +/- 0.6 vs. 23.3 +/- 7.9%; p < 0.05). Both allo- and autotransplant subjects who received <10,000 IE/kg had higher TP/CP ratios than those who received >10,000 IE/kg. Islet transplant recipients exhibit defects in the processing of proinsulin similar to that observed in subjects with type 2 diabetes manifest as higher levels of total proinsulin and increased TP/TP+I and TP/CP ratios.
Klimek, AM; Soukhatcheva, G; Thompson, DM; Warnock, GL; Salehi, M; Rilo, H; D'Alessio, D; Meneilly, GS; Panagiotopoulos, C; Verchere, CB
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