Background: In recent onset of type 1 diabetes, the residual beta cell function, assessed by baseline and/or stimulated C-peptide secretion, can be a useful parameter to establish the extension of beta cell destruction. How metabolic parameters at diagnosis influence residual C-peptide secretion is not well established.
Patients and methods: We analyzed 553 consecutive patients with recent onset (<4 weeks) of type 1 diabetes (250 females and 303 males, mean age 15+/-8 years). Baseline and stimulated C-peptide by i.v. glucagon were evaluated using a highly sensitive radio-immunoassay. Metabolic parameters including blood glucose, HbA1c, insulin dose, and BMI were also evaluated.
Results: Baseline and stimulated C-peptide were 0.26+/-0.22 and 0.47+/-0.38 nmol/l and correlated positively with age (p<0.001). There was no significant correlation between C-peptide and blood glucose at diagnosis. BMI was positively correlated with both baseline and stimulated C-peptide secretion (p<0.001). By contrast, HbA1c levels inversely correlated with both baseline and stimulated C-peptide secretion (p<0.001).
Conclusion: In type 1 diabetes at diagnosis, baseline and stimulated C-peptide are higher in pubertal and young adult patients compared with pre-pubertal patients suggesting that such parameter can be used as an end point marker for studies aimed at protecting and/or restoring beta cells in patients with substantial beta cell function. High levels of HbA1c and lower BMI are dependent variables of C-peptide values.