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Insulin Antibody Blood Test

Last updated June 2, 2019

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

The Insulin Antibody Blood Test helps detect insulin antibodies. It is used to investigate insulin absorption disorders and allergic responses to insulin administration.


What are other Names for this Test? (Equivalent Terms)

  • Antibodies against Insulin Blood Test
  • Insulin Antibody Test

What is the Insulin Antibody Blood Test? (Background Information)

  • Insulin is a hormone produced by the beta cells of the pancreas. It causes cells to take in glucose for metabolism, thereby reducing blood sugar levels
  • Individuals with type I diabetes are unable to produce insulin themselves and must administer it. Insulin derived from pork, beef, and other animal sources contain slightly different protein structure to which the body may develop an immune response
  • These slightly altered protein structures in animal insulin may trigger the body to produce antibodies, which are defense proteins that respond to the presence of foreign invaders. There are 5 main types of antibodies, or immunoglobulins (Ig’s), each with subtypes denoted as - IgA, IgG, IgM, IgD, and IgE
  • Antibodies recognize and bind to specific sites, called antigens, on the foreign invader, helping to rid it from the body. In the case of insulin antibodies, this leads to the destruction of insulin
  • The antibodies most commonly associated with different insulin protein structures are IgG, IgM, and IgE. IgM antibodies have the potential to cause insulin resistance, and hence the requirement for larger and larger doses of insulin, while IgE may cause allergies
  • The Insulin Antibody Blood Test helps detect insulin antibodies. It is used to investigate insulin absorption disorders and allergic responses to insulin administration

What are the Clinical Indications for performing the Insulin Antibody Blood Test?

Following are the clinical indications for performing the Insulin Antibody Blood Test:

  • Ever-increasing insulin dose needed to maintain a low blood sugar
  • Excessive thirst
  • Rapid weight change
  • Vision problems
  • Frequent urination

How is the Specimen Collected for Insulin Antibody Blood Test?

Following is the specimen collection process for Insulin Antibody Blood Test:

Sample required: Blood

Process of obtaining a blood sample in adults:

  • A band is wrapped around the arm, 3-4 inches above the collection site (superficial vein that lies within the elbow pit)
  • The site is cleaned with 70% alcohol in an outward spiral, away from the zone of needle insertion
  • The needle cap is removed and is held in line with the vein, pulling the skin tight
  • With a small and quick thrust, the vein is penetrated using the needle
  • The required amount of blood sample is collected by pulling the plunger of the syringe out slowly
  • The wrap band is removed, gauze is placed on the collection site, and the needle is removed
  • The blood is immediately transferred into the blood container, which has the appropriate preservative/clot activator/anti-coagulant
  • The syringe and the needle are disposed into the appropriate “sharp container” for safe and hygienic disposal

Preparation required: No special preparation is needed prior to the test.

What is the Significance of the Insulin Antibody Blood Test Result?

A high value (more than 4% serum binding of animal insulin) for the Insulin Antibody Blood Test may indicate:

  • Insulinoma
  • Insulin-resistant diabetic state
  • Cushing’s syndrome

The laboratory test results are NOT to be interpreted as results of a "stand-alone" test. The test results have to be interpreted after correlating with suitable clinical findings and additional supplemental tests/information. Your healthcare providers will explain the meaning of your tests results, based on the overall clinical scenario.

Additional and Relevant Useful Information:

  • Certain factors interfere with the results of the Insulin Antibody Blood Test. These include contraceptives, hydration status, and nutrition status

Certain medications that you may be currently taking may influence the outcome of the test. Hence, it is important to inform your healthcare provider, the complete list of medications (including any herbal supplements) you are currently taking. This will help the healthcare provider interpret your test results more accurately and avoid unnecessary chances of a misdiagnosis.

The following DoveMed website links are useful resources for additional information:

https://www.dovemed.com/common-procedures/procedures-laboratory/insulin-blood-test/

https://www.dovemed.com/common-procedures/procedures-laboratory/igf-1-test/

Please visit our Laboratory Procedures Center for more physician-approved health information:

http://www.dovemed.com/common-procedures/procedures-laboratory/

References and Information Sources used for the Article:


Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:


Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: June 2, 2016
Last updated: June 2, 2019