The serum from a patient with lupus nephritis, insulin resistance, and hypoglycemia was studied. This serum both inhibits the binding of 125I-insulin to its receptor and has insulin-like activity on fat cells (see refs. 1 and 2). The IgG fraction from this patient's serum one-half maximally inhibited 125I-insulin binding to IM-9 cells at 1 μM, but did not markedly inhibit 125I-monoclonal antibody binding even at concentrations as high as 4 μM. The IgG was then subjected to affinity chromatography on a protein A-Sepharose column. Four protein peaks were eluted from this column by a step pH gradient from 5.5 to 2.3. Three of the four peaks inhibited 125I-insulin binding to its receptors, but none was more potent than the unfractionated IgG itself. One IgG peak, however, was able to inhibit 125I-monoclonal antibody binding at tenfold lower concentrations than the unfractionated IgG. When the ability of the four IgG fractions to stimulate 2-deoxy[3H]-D-glucose transport in rat adipocytes was studied, two fractions showed stimulatory activity. Compared with unfractionated IgG, one had a weak ability to inhibit 125I-insulin binding, but tenfold more potency to mimic insulin action. The other had a strong ability to inhibit 125I-insulin binding but less potency to mimic insulin action. These studies indicate, therefore, that the serum contains multiple populations of antibodies to the insulin receptor, or portions of the plasma membrane adjacent to the receptor, which have different biologic effects.

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