Clinical Impact of Residual C-Peptide Secretion in Type 1 Diabetes on Glycemia and Microvascular Complications

Anita Jeyam, Helen Colhoun, Stuart McGurnaghan, Luke Blackbourn, Timothy J. McDonald, Colin N. A. Palmer, John A. McKnight, Mark W. J. Strachan, Alan W. Patrick, John Chalmers, Robert S. Lindsay, John R. Petrie, Sandeep Thekkepat, Andrew Collier, Sandra MacRury, Paul M. McKeigue (Lead / Corresponding author),

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To quantify the relationship of residual C-peptide secretion to glycemic outcomes and microvascular complications in type 1 diabetes.

Research Design and Methods: C-peptide was measured in an untimed blood sample in the Scottish Diabetes Research Network Type 1 Bioresource (SDRNT1BIO) cohort of 6,076 people with type 1 diabetes monitored for an average of 5.2 years.

Results: In regression models adjusted for age at onset and duration, effect sizes for C-peptide ≥200 vs. <5 pmol/L were as follows: insulin dose at baseline, 27% lower (P = 2 × 10-39); HbA1c during follow-up, 4.9 mmol/mol lower (P = 3 × 10-13); hazard ratio for hospital admission for diabetic ketoacidosis during follow-up, 0.44 (P = 0.0001); odds ratio for incident retinopathy, 0.51 (P = 0.0003). Effects on the risk of serious hypoglycemic episodes were detectable at lower levels of C-peptide, and the form of the relationship was continuous down to the limit of detection (3 pmol/L). In regression models contrasting C-peptide 30 to <200 pmol/L with <5 pmol/L, the odds ratio for self-report of at least one serious hypoglycemic episode in the last year was 0.56 (P = 6 × 10-8), and the hazard ratio for hospital admission for hypoglycemia during follow-up was 0.52 (P = 0.03).

Conclusions: These results in a large representative cohort suggest that even minimal residual C-peptide secretion could have clinical benefit in type 1 diabetes, in contrast to a follow-up study of the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) intensively treated cohort where an effect on hypoglycemia was seen only at C-peptide levels ≥130 pmol/L. This has obvious implications for the design and evaluation of trials of interventions to preserve or restore pancreatic islet function in type 1 diabetes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)390-398
Number of pages9
JournalDiabetes Care
Issue number2
Early online date10 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Advanced and Specialised Nursing


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