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Diabetes. 2005 Dec;54 Suppl 2:S68-72.

Latent autoimmune diabetes in adults: definition, prevalence, beta-cell function, and treatment.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Kungsbacka Hospital, Göteborg, Sweden.


Latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA) is a disorder in which, despite the presence of islet antibodies at diagnosis of diabetes, the progression of autoimmune beta-cell failure is slow. LADA patients are therefore not insulin requiring, at least during the first 6 months after diagnosis of diabetes. Among patients with phenotypic type 2 diabetes, LADA occurs in 10% of individuals older than 35 years and in 25% below that age. Prospective studies of beta-cell function show that LADA patients with multiple islet antibodies develop beta-cell failure within 5 years, whereas those with only GAD antibodies (GADAs) or only islet cell antibodies (ICAs) mostly develop beta-cell failure after 5 years. Even though it may take up to 12 years until beta-cell failure occurs in some patients, impairments in the beta-cell response to intravenous glucose and glucagon can be detected at diagnosis of diabetes. Consequently, LADA is not a latent disease; therefore, autoimmune diabetes in adults with slowly progressive beta-cell failure might be a more adequate concept. In agreement with proved impaired beta-cell function at diagnosis of diabetes, insulin is the treatment of choice.

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