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Minimal Focal Steatosis of Liver After Islet Transplantation in Humans: A Long-Term Study

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Several reports have been published on islet transplantation in humans, but few data are available on the effect of islet infusion on the hepatic structure. Our aim was to evaluate in a longitudinal study the impact on the liver of intrahepatic islet transplantation. Clinical outcome and liver imaging were evaluated in 31 cases of islet-kidney transplantation (follow-up 38 ± 4 months, range 12–96 months). Patients were divided into three groups: full function (FF, 9 cases: established insulin independence); partial function (PF, 16 cases: transient insulin independence, prolonged C-peptide secretion); no function (NF, 6 cases: exhaustion of C-peptide secretion within the first year). Upper abdomen sonogram was regularly performed during the whole follow-up period. Percutaneous liver biopsy was performed in case of echographic abnormalities. Multiple small areas of focal hyperechogenicity were observed in nine cases after 6–12 months. These findings were observed only in FF (two) and in PF (seven) patients. Fasting C-peptide levels at the time of echography were higher in negative than in positive patients (2.42 ± 0.16 vs. 1.51 ± 0.10 ng/ml, p = 0,0001). Liver biopsies showed focal macrovesicular steatosis, surrounded by normal liver parenchyma. Normal liver function was maintained. In conclusion, our results indicate that islet transplantation can lead to structural changes of the liver parenchyma (focal steatosis). It is more often observed in patients with partial function. Sonogram can be considered a specific method to reveal liver changes after islet transplantation.

Keywords: Histology; Islet transplantation; Sonography; Steatosis

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3727/000000005783982567

Affiliations: 1: Department of Medicine, Transplant Unit, Scientific Institute San Raffaele, Vita-Salute University, 20132 Milano, Italy 2: Department of Radiology, Scientific Institute San Raffaele, Vita-Salute University, 20132 Milano, Italy 3: Department of Pathology, Scientific Institute San Raffaele, Vita-Salute University, 20132 Milano, Italy 4: Department of Surgery, Scientific Institute San Raffaele, Vita-Salute University, 20132 Milano, Italy

Publication date: October 1, 2005

More about this publication?
  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.



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