Researchers have been unable to explain why up to 30 percent of organ transplant patients develop diabetes. Immunosuppressant drugs have topped the list of possible causes, leading doctors to believe that diabetes may be inevitable for some patients. A new study from Thomas Jefferson University in Pennsylvania reveals that the culprit may be inflammation caused by uremia prior to transplant. Fat stores also appear to play a role. Scientists took blood and tissue samples from 32 kidney transplant patients and 36 donors acting as a control group. Within a year, 11 of the transplant patients developed diabetes. The researchers found that those patients had higher pre-transplant blood levels of TNF-alpha (tumor necrosis factor alpha), a protein that triggers inflammation. Those patients also had higher production of TNF-alpha in their fat tissue, compared to those who did not develop diabetes. The discovery brings hope that diabetes in these patients could one day be prevented by targeting and reducing inflammation prior to transplant.
Patients with Inflammation More Likely to Develop Diabetes After Transplant, EurekAlert!, June 21, 2016