As our understanding of the pathophysiology of diabetes evolves, we increasingly recognize that many patients may have a form of diabetes that does not neatly fit with a diagnosis of either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The discovery and description of these forms of “atypical diabetes” have led to major contributions to our collective understanding of the basic biology that drives insulin secretion, insulin resistance, and islet autoimmunity. These discoveries now pave the way to a better classification of diabetes based on distinct endotypes. In this review, we highlight the key biological and clinical insights that can be gained from studying known forms of atypical diabetes. Additionally, we provide a framework for identification of patients with atypical diabetes based on their clinical, metabolic, and molecular features. Helpful clinical and genetic resources for evaluating patients suspected of having atypical diabetes are provided. Therefore, appreciating the various endotypes associated with atypical diabetes will enhance diagnostic accuracy and facilitate targeted treatment decisions.

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