Residual Beta-Cell Function and Spontaneous Clinical Remission in Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus: The Role of Puberty

Acta Diabetol. 1998 Jul;35(2):91-5. doi: 10.1007/s005920050110.


To investigate the role of puberty on spontaneous clinical remission and on secretion of residual C-peptide during the first year of type 1 diabetes mellitus, we studied 77 pre-pubertal, 39 pubertal and 41 post-pubertal type 1 diabetic patients. Spontaneous partial clinical remission (HbA1c within the normal range and insulin dose less than 0.3 U x kg(-1) body weight x day(-1) lasting for at least 10 days) decreased with duration of diabetes: months 3 vs 6 vs 12, respectively 13 vs 7 vs 4% (P<0.025). Remission was higher in post-pubertal than pubertal and prepubertal patients: month 6 respectively 20 vs 5 vs 1% (P<0.001). Secretion of C-peptide was significantly lower in pre-pubertal than the other two groups of patients. Basal and stimulated C-peptide secretion were higher in patients in clinical remission than in those who were not: basal value 0.4 (0.26-0.53) vs 0.28 (0.14-0.4) nmol/l (P<0.05); stimulated value 0.63 (0.5-0.95) vs 0.56 (0.31-0.74) nmol/l (P<0.05). Spontaneous remission is less frequent in children and adolescent patients than in adult post-pubertal patients, but different mechanisms may be involved. Low residual insulin secretion seems implicated in children meanwhile low insulin sensitivity could be more important in pubertal patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin / administration & dosage
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin / therapeutic use
  • Insulin Secretion
  • Islets of Langerhans / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Puberty / physiology*
  • Remission, Spontaneous


  • Insulin