Large European study finds latent autoimmune diabetes not a distinct form of diabetes

   Latent autoimmune diabetes (LADA) is not a different form of diabetes, as has been maintained by some, according to the authors of a large, multi-national European study of those with the condition. 

    The study found that while there were some differences among those diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as children and those diagnosed as adults -- such as lower BMI and earlier need for insulin therapy among the former -- there were insufficient differences in auto-antibodies to categorize LADA as a distinct form of autoimmune diabetes.

   The researchers looked at consecutive diabetes patients (N=6156, age range 30-70) who were within five years of diagnosis attending European clinics. They examined them clinically and for autoantibodies to glutamic acid decarboxylase (GADA), insulinoma-associated antigen-2 (IA-2A), and zinc-transporter8 (ZnT8A) using established radio-immunoprecipitation assays.

   Following data analysis, the investigators concluded that, between type 1 diabetes and LADA, there were some quantitative, but no categorical, immunophenotypic differences apart from initial insulin therapy. “This largest study of adult-onset autoimmune diabetes indicates a gradation in features so, insulin treatment apart, LADA is not a distinct form of autoimmune diabetes,” they concluded.