Insulin autoimmunity as a cause of hypoglycemia.Arch Intern Med 1984; 144(12):2351-4AI
"Autoimmune" hypoglycemia is a syndrome consisting of fasting hypoglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, and insulin-binding antibodies in a patient who has never been exposed to exogenous insulin. The stimulus for insulin-antibody formation and the mechanism of the hypoglycemia in this condition remain unknown. Three patients with this rare syndrome had severe hypoglycemia of limited duration. Two had received a drug containing a sulfhydryl group (methimazole and penicillamine) as treatment for an autoimmune disorder (Graves' disease and rheumatoid arthritis, respectively). A third patient who underwent surgery for a suspected insulinoma was found to have pancreatic beta cell hyperplasia. Drugs containing a sulfhydryl group may have a role in the etiology of the syndrome. Additionally, our findings suggest a relationship between circulating insulin antibodies and beta cell hyperplasia.