A cohort of 82 patients with Type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes was followed prospectively for 24 months, and 54 of them for 30 months, to study the relationship between fasting levels of immunoreactive C-peptide and titres of islet cell antibodies. After diagnosis, fasting C-peptide rose temporarily for 1-6 months of insulin therapy and declined continuously thereafter. While islet cell antibodies were present among 55% of the newly diagnosed patients, only 31% remained positive at 30 months. Their antibody titres decreased from 1:81 at diagnosis to 1:3. Only 3 patients (4%) who were islet cell antibody negative at diagnosis became positive later. The median C-peptide values among the persistently islet cell antibody positive patients decreased from 0.11 pmol/ml at 18 months, to 0.09 pmol/ml at 24 months, to 0.06 pmol/ml at 30 months compared to 0.18 (p = 0.04), 0.15 (p = 0.05) and 0.16 (p less than 0.003) pmol/ml, respectively, for the islet cell antibody negative patients. The median slope for the latter was -0.09 compared to -0.19 for the islet cell antibody positive patients (p = 0.01). These differences were reflected in increasing dosages of insulin, since patients remaining antibody-positive for 30 months were given 1.3-1.4 times more insulin (p = 0.01-0.004) than the antibody negative patients. This study demonstrates that islet cell antibodies may be a useful marker for predicting an increased rate by which endogenous B cell function is lost in Type 1 diabetes.