Persistent insulin secretion, assessed by plasma C-peptide estimation in long-term juvenile diabetics with a low insulin requirement

Diabetologia. 1978 Sep;15(3):169-72. doi: 10.1007/BF00421234.


In order to investigate whether patients with long-standing juvenile diabetes mellitus (onset of diabetes before the age of 30) and a low daily insulin requirement (less than 0.50 units/kg body weight) still have functioning B-cells, plasma C-peptide was determined after stimulation (OGTT and glucagon/tolbutamide) in 64 patients with diabetes of more than 18 years' duration (mean 31 years). Measurable endogenous insulin production was found in 24% of the patients. The prevalence of severe retinopathy was lower in the secretors than in the non-secretor group. There was no difference in insulin antibody concentration between the two groups. Furthermore, the insulin requirement in the secretor group was relatively constant during the course of diabetes. Metabolic control was similar in both groups. It is concluded that a persisting but low activity of endogenous insulin production can be found in many long-term juvenile diabetics with a low insulin requirement, while others without any residual beta-cell function develop a low insulin requirement for unknown reasons.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • C-Peptide / blood*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / physiopathology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Insulin / therapeutic use
  • Insulin Secretion
  • Islets of Langerhans / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peptides / blood*
  • Time Factors


  • C-Peptide
  • Insulin
  • Peptides