People With Diabetes Can Donate Kidneys

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When people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes donate a kidney, the rejection rate is no different than in cases in which the donor does not have diabetes. However, the recipients of kidneys from type 1 or 2 donors have a greater incidence of proteinuria—an excessive amount of protein in the urine, a sign of kidney disease—and are more likely to have elevated blood-glucose levels requiring treatment after the transplant.

In a recent study, 42 individuals, 30 of them without diabetes, received donor kidneys from people with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Transplanted kidneys from type 1 or 2 donors were “associated with a significantly increased frequency of post-transplant proteinuria,” the researchers report. In addition, recipients who did not have diabetes before the transplant “were more likely to initiate oral hypoglycemic therapy after transplant.”

Researchers suggest that pre-existing diabetes-related kidney damage “may increase the risk for proteinuria, compromised renal function, and post-transplant glucose intolerance,” despite the relative safety of using a donor kidney from someone with diabetes in terms of rejection rates.

Transplantation, July 2002

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