Islet cell antibodies (ICAs) are markers for patients at risk for insulin-dependent diabetes and are associated with progressive β-cell destruction. This prospective study was performed to estimate the incidence of these antibodies in 187 women with previous gestational diabetes. With a specific protein A monoclonal antibody (MoAb) assay, the incidence of ICAs was only 1.6% (3 of 187). Oral and intravenous glucose tolerance tests were performed in these 3 women and compared with 6 women with previous gestational diabetes without ICAs and 5 control women. Glucose tolerance was impaired only in the 3 women with ICAs, who also had an increase (P < 0.03) in fasting plasma glucose and a decrease (P < 0.03) in early first-phase insulin response. We conclude that the more specific MoAb method indicates a lower incidence of ICA in women with a history of gestational diabetes than previously reported and that a decreased first-phase insulin response is associated with the presence of ICAs, suggesting progressive islet cell damage.

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