A Practical Review of C-Peptide Testing in Diabetes

Diabetes Ther. 2017 Jun;8(3):475-487. doi: 10.1007/s13300-017-0265-4. Epub 2017 May 8.


C-peptide is a widely used measure of pancreatic beta cell function. It is produced in equimolar amounts to endogenous insulin but is excreted at a more constant rate over a longer time. Methods of estimation include urinary and unstimulated and stimulated serum sampling. Modern assays detect levels of c-peptide which can be used to guide diabetes diagnosis and management. We explore the evidence behind the various tests available. We recommend the glucagon stimulation c-peptide testing owing to its balance of sensitivity and practicality. C-peptide levels are associated with diabetes type and duration of disease. Specifically a c-peptide level of less than 0.2 nmol/l is associated with a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM). C-peptide level may correlate with microvascular and macrovascular complications and future use of insulin therapy, as well as likely response to other individual therapies. We explore the potential uses of c-peptide measurement in clinical practice.

Keywords: C-peptide; Diabetes; Insulin; Type 1 diabetes; Type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Review