Most people with long-duration type 1 diabetes in a large population-based study are insulin microsecretors

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Oram, Richard A.
McDonald, Timothy J.
Shields, Beverley M
Hudson, M. M.
Shepherd, Maggie
Hammersley, S.
Pearson, E. R.
Hattersley, Andrew T.
United Team
Diabetes care
Journal Article
Multicenter Study
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Diabetes Care
OBJECTIVE: Small studies using ultrasensitive C-peptide assays suggest endogenous insulin secretion is frequently detectable in patients with long-standing type 1 diabetes (T1D), but these studies do not use representative samples. We aimed to use the stimulated urine C-peptide-to-creatinine ratio (UCPCR) to assess C-peptide levels in a large cross-sectional, population-based study of patients with T1D. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: We recruited 924 patients from primary and secondary care in two U.K. centers who had a clinical diagnosis of T1D, were under 30 years of age when they received a diagnosis, and had a diabetes duration of >5 years. The median age at diagnosis was 11 years (interquartile range 6-17 years), and the duration of diabetes was 19 years (11-27 years). All provided a home postmeal UCPCR, which was measured using a Roche electrochemiluminescence assay. RESULTS: Eighty percent of patients (740 of 924 patients) had detectable endogenous C-peptide levels (UCPCR >0.001 nmol/mmol). Most patients (52%, 483 of 924 patients) had historically very low undetectable levels (UCPCR 0.0013-0.03 nmol/mmol); 8% of patients (70 of 924 patients) had a UCPCR >/=0.2 nmol/mmol, equivalent to serum levels associated with reduced complications and hypoglycemia. Absolute UCPCR levels fell with duration of disease. Age at diagnosis and duration of disease were independent predictors of C-peptide level in multivariate modeling. CONCLUSIONS: This population-based study shows that the majority of long-duration T1D patients have detectable urine C-peptide levels. While the majority of patients are insulin microsecretors, some maintain clinically relevant endogenous insulin secretion for many years after the diagnosis of diabetes. Understanding this may lead to a better understanding of pathogenesis in T1D and open new possibilities for treatment.
Diabetes Care. 2015 Feb;38(2):323-8.