Twenty-seven patients with successful transplantation and a control group of 14 patients with early rejection of the pancreas graft but functioning kidney graft were examined in a prospective study for 3 yr. Before transplantation, all patients had long-standing type I diabetes with advanced secondary complications, including end-stage diabetic nephropathy. After transplantation in the patients of both groups, kidney function was almost normal. Mean HbA1 levels were normal in the group with pancreas graft survival. In the control group, HbA1 levels were, on average, 1.5% higher compared with the group with pancreas survival (P = 0.00005). After 3 yr, the patients with functioning pancreas graft showed fewer symptoms (mean difference 1.0 in a symptom score ranging from 0 to 16, P = 0.004) compared with the control group. No statistically significant difference between both groups concerning clinical signs of polyneuropathy could be observed. In the pancreas and kidney transplantation group, peroneal and median nerve conduction velocities increased 7.2 m/s (P < 0.01) and 3.5 m/s (P < 0.05), respectively, whereas no increase was registered in the control group. The change of median and sural sensory nerve conduction velocities, peroneal and median compound muscle action potentials, and sural and median sensory action potentials was insignificant. In conclusion, although the improvement of clinical symptoms and neurophysiological signs of polyneuropathy was modest in the pancreas and kidney transplantation group, our data suggest that successful pancreas transplantation is able not only to halt the progression of diabetic polyneuropathy but also to improve it to some extent even at a far advanced stage.

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