The pancreas in recent-onset type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus: insulin content of islets, insulitis and associated changes in the exocrine acinar tissue

Diabetologia. 1984 Jun;26(6):456-61. doi: 10.1007/BF00262221.


The pancreatic autopsy findings of 11 children with Type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus are presented. Nine children died within 24 h of initial presentation. In these 'recent-onset' diabetic patients many islets were shrunken and insulin-deficient. However, large islets containing B cells were present also. Insulitis was present in eight recent-onset diabetic subjects; in these, 18% of insulin-containing islets were inflamed, but only 1% of insulin-deficient islets were thus affected. This finding supports the concept of an immunologically mediated destruction of B cells in the pathogenesis of Type 1 diabetes. Severe acinar cell atrophy was present surrounding insulin-deficient islets, but acinar tissue around insulin-containing islets was normal. These exocrine changes are thought to be related to islet-exocrine vascular connections and the effects of the various islet hormones on pancreatic acini.

MeSH terms

  • Atrophy
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / pathology*
  • Diabetic Coma / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Islets of Langerhans / pathology*
  • Male
  • Pancreas / pathology*


  • Insulin