Background: The study of endogenous insulin secretion may provide relevant insight into the comparison of the natural history of adult onset latent autoimmune diabetes (LADA) with types 1 and 2 diabetes mellitus. The aim of this study was to compare the results of the C-peptide response to mixed-meal stimulation in LADA patients with different disease durations and subjects with type 2 and adult-onset type 1 diabetes.
Methods: Stimulated C-peptide secretion was assessed using the mixed-meal tolerance test in patients with LADA (n = 32), type 1 diabetes mellitus (n = 33) and type 2 diabetes mellitus (n = 30). All patients were 30 to 70 years old at disease onset. The duration of diabetes in all groups ranged from 6 months to 10 years. The recruitment strategy was predefined to include at least 10 subjects in the following 3 disease onset categories for each group: 6 to 18 months, 19 months to 5 years and 5 to 10 years.
Results: At all time-points of the mixed-meal tolerance test, patients with LADA had a lower stimulated C-peptide response than the type 2 diabetes group and a higher response than the type 1 diabetes group. The same results were found when the peak or area under the C-peptide curve was measured. When the results were stratified by time since disease onset, a similar pattern of residual insulin secretory capacity was observed.
Conclusions: The present study shows that the magnitude of stimulated insulin secretion in LADA is intermediate between that of type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus.