Article Abstract

Insulin autoimmune syndrome: from diagnosis to clinical management

Authors: Simona Censi, Caterina Mian, Corrado Betterle


Autoimmune forms of hypoglycemia are a rare cause of low blood sugar levels among Caucasians, and often go misdiagnosed, exposing patients to lengthy series of pointless, potentially harmful and expensive tests. There are two types of autoimmune hypoglycemia. One is insulin autoimmune syndrome (IAS), which is characterized by hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia, elevated insulin autoantibody (IAA) titers, no prior exposure to exogenous insulin, and no of pathological abnormalities of the pancreatic islets. This condition is also known as “Hirata’s disease”. The other is type B insulin resistance syndrome (TBIRS), a rare autoimmune disorder resulting in a broad array of abnormalities in glucose homeostasis—from hypoglycemia to extremely insulin-resistant hyperglycemia—caused by the presence of insulin receptor autoantibodies (IRAbs). This review focuses on these two syndromes, describing their epidemiology, possible genetic background, clinical presentation, pathophysiology, diagnosis and treatment.