Serum levels of free and total insulin as well as total C-peptide immunoreactivity (C-peptide and proinsulin) and C-peptide were measured in insulin-treated diabetics with circulating insulin antibodies by the addition of polyethylene glycol (PEG) before and after acidification. PEG resulted in complete precipitation of insulin antibodies from serum and made it possible to measure free insulin in the supernatant. Incubation of serum at 37δ C. for two hours before addition of PEG resulted in values for free insulin that probably resembled the in-vivo levels most closely. The same method could also be used to remove proinsulin bound to circulating insulin antibodies and permitted the measurement of C-peptide in the supernatant.
Clinical studies using this approach indicate that combined measurements of serum free and total insulin and C-peptide provide information that is helpful in understanding the contribution of endogenous and exogenous insulin to the course and metabolic control of insulin-requiring diabetic patients.