We used intravenous arginine with measurements of insulin, C-peptide, and glucagon to examine β-cell and α-cell survival and function in a group of 10 chronic pancreatitis recipients 1-8 years after total pancreatectomy and autoislet transplantation. Insulin and C-peptide responses correlated robustly with the number of islets transplanted (correlation coefficients range 0.81-0.91; P < 0.01-0.001). Since a wide range of islets were transplanted, we normalized the insulin and C-peptide responses to the number of islets transplanted in each recipient for comparison with responses in normal subjects. No significant differences were observed in terms of magnitude and timing of hormone release in the two groups. Three recipients had a portion of the autoislets placed within their peritoneal cavities, which appeared to be functioning normally up to 7 years posttransplant. Glucagon responses to arginine were normally timed and normally suppressed by intravenous glucose infusion. These findings indicate that arginine stimulation testing may be a means of assessing the numbers of native islets available in autologous islet transplant candidates and is a means of following posttransplant a- and β-cell function and survival.
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© 2015 by the American Diabetes Association.