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Pancreas Transplantation for Diabetes Mellitus

JOSIAH BROWN, M.D.; WILLIAM R. CLARK, Ph.D.; RHODA K. MAKOFF, Ph.D.; HARRY WEISMAN, M.D.; JOHN A. KEMP, B.A.; and YOKO MULLEN, M.D., Ph.D.
[+] Article and Author Information

Grant support: Grants from the U.S. Public Health Service (AM17980, AM20827); NIH Research Career Development Award (A1-00009); and from The American Diabetes Association, Southern California Affiliate.

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Josiah Brown, M.D.; Chief, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Medicine, UCLA School of Medicine; Los Angeles, CA 90024.


Los Angeles, California


©1978 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1978;89(6):951-965. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-89-6-951
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Despite the best efforts of physicians and diabetic patients in the use of insulin for control of juvenile-onset (insulin-deficient) diabetes, vascular complications occur in most patients. The many advantages of the whole fetal pancreas as a donor organ make transplantation of the pancreas a promising improvement in therapy. A rat model has been developed for future application to human beings. After transplantation of one fetal rat pancreas into a diabetic recipient, maturation and growth of the transplant is adequate for complete reversal of the diabetic state of the recipient. Because of the atrophy of exocrine elements after transplantation of the fetal organ, many of the technical problems inherent in adult pancreas transplants are avoided. The small size of the fetal pancreas permits cryopreservation and permanent storage without apparent loss of function. Cryopreservation provides time for typing, matching, and preparation of the recipient to receive the donor organ and thus may alleviate rejection problems.

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