A 21-year-old female patient complaining of frequent hypoglycemie attacks in the presence of a large amount of circulating insulin-binding antibodies without prvious known immunization is described.
In order to clarify the possible mechanism of the hypoglycemie attacks occurring in this new syndrome, changes in plasma glucose, plasma total and free immunoreactive insulin (IRI), and C-peptide immunoreactivity (CPR) levels were investigated in the patient before, during, and after a three-hour glucose infusion. The character of her antibodies was also examined. An abrupt discontinuation of the glucose infusion caused a sharp decline in the plasma glucose level, reaching a nadir of 30 mg./100 ml. at 270 minutes; then she became unconscious. A huge amount of total IRI of 2,834 μU./ml. was registered at 180 minutes, while the peak value of free IRI of 208 /μU./ml. was observed 45 minutes after the cessation of the glucose infusion. Plasma CPR was increased from high basal level, 19.6 ng./ml., to the maximum level of 29.2 ng./ml. The maximum insulin-binding capacity of IgG in the patient's serum was 6.25 mU./ml. The antibody-combining site was homogeneous, showing one high-affinity site (K: 1.1 × 109M−1).
Neither the prolonged fasting nor the administration of tolbutamide induced the hypoglycemie attack in the patient.
The hypoglycemia may be explained by an unduly excessive amount of insulin liberated from a large pool of bound insulin irrespective of blood sugar level. The cause of the antibody production is also discussed.