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Insulin Antibodies

Insulin Antibodies


The detection of insulin antibodies was once considered to be firm evidence of factitious hypoglycemia resulting from inappropriate self-administration of insulin, especially when animal insulin was the only commercially available type. Because of the use of human insulin, which is less antigenic than that derived from animals, such patients usually have no detectable insulin antibodies. Hypoglycemia that can be directly attributed to the spontaneous generation of antibodies to native insulin has been reported to occur primarily in Asians and rarely in whites. In patients with insulin autoimmune hypoglycemia from the spontaneous generation of insulin antibodies, such antibodies may be monoclonal or polyclonal and are present in very high titers, in contrast to the much lower titers in insulin-treated diabetes. It is important to test for the presence of insulin antibodies because even low titers, which may have no diagnostic significance, may cause spurious results of the assay for insulin. Hypoglycemia in such instances may have a variable association with fasting or meal


No special preparation required

Normal range

A value greater than 0.4 Kronus Units/mL is considered positive for Insulin Antibody

Result explanation

Normal Results Normally, there are no antibodies against insulin in your blood if you have not been treated with insulin for diabetes.

Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Some labs use different measurements or test different samples. Talk to your health care provider about the meaning of your specific test results.

What Abnormal Results Mean If you have IgG and IgM antibodies against insulin, your body reacts as if the insulin in your body is a foreign protein that needs to be removed. This may make insulin less effective, or not effective at all. This is because the antibody prevents the insulin from working the right way in your cells. As a result, your blood sugar can be unusually high. Many people who are on insulin have detectable antibodies, but these antibodies do not cause symptoms.

The antibodies can also prolong the effect of insulin by releasing some insulin long after your meal has been absorbed. This can put you at risk for low blood sugar.

If the test shows a high level of IgE antibody against insulin, your body has developed an allergic response to the insulin. This could put you at risk for skin reactions where you inject insulin. You can also develop more severe reactions that affect your blood pressure or breathing.

Other medicines, such as antihistamines or low-dose injectable steroids, may help to lessen the reaction. If reactions have been severe, you may need a treatment process called desensitization or another treatment to remove the antibodies from your blood.

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