Random non-fasting C-peptide testing can identify patients with insulin-treated type 2 diabetes at high risk of hypoglycaemia.
© The Author(s) 2017. Open Access. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
AIMS/HYPOTHESIS: The aim of this study was to determine whether random non-fasting C-peptide (rCP) measurement can be used to assess hypoglycaemia risk in insulin-treated type 2 diabetes. METHODS: We compared continuous glucose monitoring-assessed SD of blood glucose and hypoglycaemia duration in 17 patients with insulin-treated type 2 diabetes and severe insulin deficiency (rCP < 200 pmol/l) and 17 matched insulin-treated control patients with type 2 diabetes but who had preserved endogenous insulin (rCP > 600 pmol/l). We then assessed the relationship between rCP and questionnaire-based measures of hypoglycaemia in 256 patients with insulin-treated type 2 diabetes and a comparison group of 209 individuals with type 1 diabetes. RESULTS: Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM)-assessed glucose variability and hypoglycaemia was greater in individuals with rCP < 200 pmol/l despite similar mean glucose. In those with low vs high C-peptide, SD of glucose was 4.2 (95% CI 3.7, 4.6) vs 3.0 (2.6, 3.4) mmol/l (p < 0.001). In the low-C-peptide vs high-C-peptide group, the proportion of individuals experiencing sustained hypoglycaemia ≤ 4 mmol/l was 94% vs 41% (p < 0.001), the mean rate of hypoglycaemia was 5.5 (4.4, 6.7) vs 2.1 (1.4, 2.9) episodes per person per week (p = 0.004) and the mean duration was 630 (619, 643) vs 223 (216, 230) min per person per week (p = 0.01). Hypoglycaemia ≤ 3 mmol/l was infrequent in individuals with preserved C-peptide (1.8 [1.2, 2.6] episodes per person per week vs 0.4 [0.1, 0.8] episodes per person per week for low vs high C-peptide, p = 0.04) and only occurred at night. In a population-based cohort with insulin-treated type 2 diabetes, self-reported hypoglycaemia was twice as frequent in those with rCP < 200 pmol/l (OR 2.0, p < 0.001) and the rate of episodes resulting in loss of consciousness or seizure was five times higher (OR 5.0, p = 0.001). The relationship between self-reported hypoglycaemia and C-peptide was similar in individuals with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. CONCLUSIONS/INTERPRETATION: Low rCP is associated with increased glucose variability and hypoglycaemia in patients with insulin-treated type 2 diabetes and represents a practical, stable and inexpensive biomarker for assessment of hypoglycaemia risk.
This study was funded by the Northcott Devon Foundation and the NIHR Exeter Clinical Research Facility. BMS, AVH, and BAK are core staff members of the National Institute for Health Research Exeter Clinical Research Facility. WDS is in receipt of an NIHR-HEFCE ‘New Blood’ Senior lectureship, PC is Senior Lecturer at King’s College London, TJM is an NIHR CSO Fellow and AGJ is an NIHR Clinician Scientist. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health.
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Published online 5 October 2017
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