Aims: Most people with Type 1 diabetes have low levels of persistent endogenous insulin production. The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial showed that close to diagnosis preserved endogenous insulin was associated with lower HbA1c , hypoglycaemia and complication rates, when intensively treated. We aimed to assess the clinical impact of persistent C-peptide on rate of hypoglycaemia and HbA1c in those with long duration (> 5 years) Type 1 diabetes.
Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional case-control study of 221 people (median age 24 years) with Type 1 diabetes. We confirmed ongoing endogenous insulin secretion by measuring C-peptide after a mixed-meal tolerance test. We compared self-reported hypoglycaemia (n = 160), HbA1c , insulin dose and microvascular complications (n = 140) in those with preserved and low C-peptide.
Results: Stimulated median (IQR) C-peptide was 114 (43, 273) pmol/l and < 3 (< 3, < 3) pmol/l in those with preserved and low C-peptide respectively. Participants with preserved C-peptide had lower reported monthly rates of hypoglycaemia, with 21% fewer symptomatic episodes, 5.9 vs. 7.5 [incidence rate ratio (IRR) 0.79, P = 0.001], and 65% fewer asymptomatic episodes, 1.0 vs. 2.9 (IRR 0.35, P < 0.001). Those with preserved C-peptide had a lower insulin dose (0.68 vs. 0.81 units/kg, P = 0.01) but similar HbA1c (preserved 69 vs. low 67 mmol/mol, P = 0.06).
Conclusions: Adults with Type 1 diabetes and preserved endogenous insulin production receiving usual care in the UK have lower daily insulin doses and fewer self-reported hypoglycaemic episodes, but no difference in HbA1c . This is consistent with non-intensive treatment in previous studies, and suggests a need to consider therapy intensification to gain full benefit of preserved endogenous insulin.
© 2019 The Authors. Diabetic Medicine published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Diabetes UK.