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J Endocr Soc. 2017 Nov 3;1(12):1435-1439. doi: 10.1210/js.2017-00292. eCollection 2017 Dec 1.

Immunosuppressive Therapy in Treatment of Refractory Hypoglycemia in Type B Insulin Resistance: A Case Report.

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Temple University Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19140.


Type B insulin resistance is a rare syndrome characterized by fluctuating glucose levels (ranging from hyperglycemia with extreme insulin resistance to intractable hypoglycemia without exogenous insulin administration), high serum insulin levels, and insulin receptor autoantibodies. Most cases occur in the African American population in association with other underlying autoimmune systemic diseases. Treatments with high-dose steroids, immunosuppressants, and plasmapheresis have been used, with variable outcomes, in patients without spontaneous remission. We report the case of a 60-year-old African American woman with history of systemic lupus erythematosus presenting with extreme fluctuations in glucose levels, ranging from severe hyperglycemia to refractory hypoglycemia, with high serum concentration of insulin in both phases. Her presentation and phenotype were very similar to those seen in known cases of type B insulin resistance associated with insulin receptor antibodies. Treatment in other reported cases used a combination of high-dose steroids and immunosuppressants. We tried high-dose steroids, azathioprine, and intravenous immunoglobulins, which resulted in improvement and barely detectable insulin receptor antibody. We present a case of type B insulin resistance with abnormally low titers of insulin receptor antibodies despite a typical clinical course and response. Future research is needed to improve diagnosis and treatment in this rare disease.


hypoglycemia; insulin receptor antibodies; insulin resistance; type B insulin resistance

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