A radiobinding assay for the detection of autoantibodies against islet amyloid polypeptide was developed, analytically validated, and--in parallel with a similar assay for the detection of autoantibodies against insulin--applied to sera from recent-onset Type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetic patients and from age- and sex-matched control subjects. There was no difference in islet amyloid polypeptide autoantibody titres between patient groups and matched control subjects, nor within subject groups according to age. At onset of Type 1 diabetes, elevated islet amyloid polypeptide-autoantibody levels (> 97th percentile of control subjects) were only detected in 1 of 30 patients aged 0-19 years and in 2 of 35 patients aged 20-39 years. By contrast, insulin autoantibodies were frequently demonstrated, in particular at onset of diabetes under age 20 (0-19 years: 18 of 30 patients; 20-39 years: 10 of 35 patients; p < 0.01 vs matched control subjects). Islet amyloid polypeptide autoantibodies were not detectable in 3 insulinoma patients nor in 37 patients (aged 33-70 years) with Type 2 diabetes (vs 1 of 40 in matched control subjects). In positive serum, adsorption onto protein A-Sepharose removed islet amyloid polypeptide binding activity, hereby confirming its antibody nature. In conclusion, Type 1 diabetes is associated with an age-dependent autoantibody reaction against insulin but not against islet amyloid polypeptide. Conditions associated with amyloid deposition in islets (Type 2 diabetes, insulinoma and ageing) do not favour the formation of autoantibodies against islet amyloid polypeptide.