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Pancreas transplantation with systemic venous drainage of the graft causes elevated plasma levels of insulin, known to be a potent regulator of plasma lipoprotein metabolism. We studied 11 post-type I diabetic pancreas-kidney transplant recipients, 9 type I diabetic kidney transplant recipients displaying peripheral hyperinsulinemia due to subcutaneous insulin treatment, 11 nondiabetic kidney transplant recipients as controls for the effects of immunosuppressive medication, and 11 healthy control subjects, all matched for age, sex, and body mass index. We determined fasting lipids, lipoproteins and lipolytic enzymes, as well as postprandial lipid metabolism after a standardized oral fat load. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol averaged 1.98 (0.40) mmol/L in pancreas-kidney transplant patients, clearly higher than that of kidney transplant recipients (1.52 (0.36) mmol/L, P < 0.05) or of controls (1.50 (0.38) mmol/L, P < 0.05). In pancreas-kidney transplant patients postprandial lipemia was lowest and lipoprotein lipase activity was highest (average 32% and 154%, respectively, of the mean of the controls) compared with nondiabetic kidney transplant recipients (P < 0.005, P < 0.05) and healthy controls (P < 0.001, P < 0.01). In type I diabetic kidney transplant recipients the levels of HDL cholesterol (1.88 (0.63) mmol/L), postprandial lipemia, and lipoprotein lipase activity were intermediate between pancreas-kidney transplant patients and healthy controls. The distinctly elevated HDL cholesterol in pancreas-kidney transplant patients can be readily explained by the low postprandial triglyceride levels resulting from a high activity of lipoprotein lipase. The very favorable lipid profile in post-diabetic pancreas-kidney transplant recipients could be expected to counteract the severe atherosclerotic risk of long-standing diabetes.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





899 - 904


Adult, Azathioprine, Cholesterol, HDL, Cyclosporine, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1, Female, Humans, Immunosuppressive Agents, Kidney Transplantation, Lipids, Lipoprotein Lipase, Male, Pancreas Transplantation, Prednisone, Triglycerides