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Pediatr Endocrinol Diabetes Metab. 2017;23(3):130-138. doi: 10.18544/PEDM-23.03.0084.

Assessment of preservation of beta-cell function in children with long-standing type 1 diabetes with "ultrasensitive c-peptide" method.

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Those authors contributed equally to the research Students Scientific Research Group.
Department of Pediatrics, Endocrinology, Diabetology with Cardiology Division, Medical University of Białystok, Poland.


in English, Polish


Type 1 diabetes mellitus is a disease caused by the autoimmune destruction of pancreatic beta-cells. It was previously believed that the loss of the endocrine function of the pancreas is total and inevitable. With the rise of new knowledge and new methods allowing to reliably measure c-peptide in the low plasma concentration range, we have learned otherwise. Some residual function of the beta-cells can be present even after decades of the course of the disease. The aim of the study was to evaluate the c-peptide level with routine laboratory and ultrasensitive methods in children with long-standing type 1 diabetes in relation to clinical characteristics.


We recruited 178 consecutive children with type 1 diabetes mellitus lasting at least 1 year, mean diabetes duration was 5.6 years. Basic anthropometric measurements were performed and blood samples were drawn. From patients history records we gathered data regarding the course of the disease and laboratory results previously acquired. Laboratory tests performed on the blood samples included HbA1c levels and c-peptide level measurement using classic (n=178) and ultrasensitive (n=160) method (Mercodia). Clinically relevant c-peptide level was set at 0.23 ng/ml according to the DCCT recommendations.


Clinically relevant c-peptide was found in 54 of 160 (33.75%) patients. Patients with preserved c-peptide were older at the time of diagnosis, had longer clinical remission, and required lower total and basal doses of insulin. Significantly lower mean HbA1c from the last year, but higher HbA1c at the time of the diabetes diagnosis were found in the group with higher c-peptide levels. The comparison of the classic and ultrasensitive c-peptide tests revealed that both yield similar results.


Our observation shows that 34% of young patients with long-standing type 1 diabetes have prolonged c-peptide secretion. We confirm the long-standing assumption that residual beta-cell function is beneficial for metabolic control of the patients. Classic method of the c-peptide measurement can be just as useful in clinical practice as the ultrasensitive one.


[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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