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J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2008 Apr;21(4):369-75.

Insulin receptor autoimmunity and insulin resistance.

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Division of Pediatric Endocrinology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY 10467, USA.


The frequency of insulin receptor autoantibodies (IR-ab) was determined among adolescents and young adults with documented insulin resistance syndrome (IRS) with and without concomitant autoimmunity. The study population was comprised of 61 patients with obesity, acanthosis nigricans and insulin resistance (simple IRS); 12 with IRS and other autoimmune problems (lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, dermatomyositis) (type B insulin resistance); six with autoimmune polyglandular syndrome type 2; and 40 healthy controls. Using our newly developed radiobinding assay system, we found no control positive while 25% of the patients with type B IRS (3/12) were positive, as expected. However, we found that 9.8% of the patients with simple IRS (6/61) were also reproducibly positive. All the latter patients with positive IR-ab were female with ovarian hyperandrogenism. The phenotype of those affected was otherwise unremarkably different from those without IR-ab. Our findings suggest that autoimmunity to insulin receptors may be causal in IRS especially for females with ovarian hyperandrogenism, and that IR-ab may be found in IRS besides those previously defined by the type B phenotype. Determining the level of IR-ab in childhood onset IRS may provide mechanistic insights into the genesis of insulin resistance and lead to novel treatment approaches.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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