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Lancet. 1985 Mar 2;1(8427):480-1.

Value of insulin autoantibodies as serum markers for insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.


Insulin autoantibodies (IAA) were studied in newly diagnosed insulin-dependent diabetics before the start of insulin treatment and in unaffected identical twins of insulin-dependent diabetics. In 15 of the 40 (38%) diabetics and 27 of the 58 (47%) twins IAA levels exceeded those of 100 controls. Frequency of IAA in unaffected twins was not related to duration of diabetes in their affected twin. In 11 unaffected twins, IAA levels differed in two samples taken 1-12 years apart; IAA were detected at least once in all twins and in one on both occasions. IAA in the twins were not related to the presence of islet-cell antibodies or to HLA-DR 3 or 4. As the unaffected twins of longstanding diabetics are unlikely to develop diabetes, these observations suggest that IAA do not always presage diabetes and are probably not a consequence of the disease; they may reflect an inherited autoimmune tendency to diabetes.

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