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Minerva Medica 2004 April;95(2):79-84

language: English

Markers of b cell function in type 1 diabetes mellitus

Vendrame F., Zappaterreno A., Dotta F.


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Type 1 diabetes mellitus is a multifactorial autoimmune disease characterized by destruction of insulin producing pancreatic b cells that results in insulin deficiency and fasting hyperglycemia. It is now well known that the clinical onset of the disease represents the end stage of an immunological process that occurs over a course of months to years. During this period the presence of autoantibodies against different islet antigens can be detected by the use of standardized assays. The rate of b cell loss is quite variable among different individuals and at onset ketoacidosis represents still a life threatening complication of the disease. The Diabetes Control and Complication Trial (DCCT) has clearly shown that the preservation of b cell function in type 1 diabetic subjects results in a better metabolic control and significantly reduces the risk of microvascular complications. Conse-quently, markers of b cell function represent important tools to make an early diagnosis and to evaluate the impact of new therapies on the natural history of the disease. The present review will focus on clinical markers currently available (intravenous glucose tolerance test, IVGTT, oral glucose tolerance test, OGTT, basal and stimulated C-peptide) to assess the b cell function in type 1 diabetes.

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