The human body has developed three basic lines of defense against foreign invaders such as bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens (disease causing agents). But, within the body, defensive measures have also evolved to deal with the production of abnormal cells such as cancer that may manifest themselves at times.


The first line of protection occurs in the ability of the skin and mucosal linings to provide a barrier or trap mechanism preventing further penetration by foreign intruders.

Assuming penetration (such as a cut in the skin), the second defensive mechanism which is non-specific in its approach comes into play. White blood cells serve to engulf any and all potential combatants, removing them before they can gain a foothold and cause an infection.

The third line, the immune system, is highly specific, targeting a particular invader (antigen) and producing a chemical agent (antibody) which will bind specifically with and help remove the intruder. Specialized WBC’s called B lymphocytes serve as memory cells acting to respond rapidly to a second invasion of the same antigen years later.


Antibodies are globular proteins called immunoglobulins or Ig for short. They are manufactured in the spleen, thymus gland and lymph nodes. There are five classes or varieties produced each designated by a letter: IgA, IgD, IgE, IgG and IgM. Three are of interest in this discussion from a diagnostic standpoint.


At times the body makes a mistake producing antibodies against itself – auto-antibodies. This we see in Type1 diabetes when the body sees the insulin producing beta cells of the pancreas as foreign, killing them off,  thereby reducing the amount of insulin available for glucose metabolism.


 At times the body may produce auto-antibodies against insulin itself {anti-insulin antibodies} reducing its availability or rendering it less effective or not effective at all. This results in ever increasing insulin resistance and the need for higher insulin dosages to offset hyperglycemia.

Physicians can identify the course and duration of the problem by measuring the ratio of IgM to IgG. High IgM occurs at the early onset, IgG indicating a later stage of development. The presence of these two Ig’s indicates that the body is reacting as if insulin is a foreign invader to the system.

On the other hand, if IgE is high it suggests that the body is having an allergic reaction to the insulin. These diagnostic markers can be used as predictors of type1 diabetes even before symptoms appear; they can be used to determine the course of the disease or as markers for the proper treatment of type1 after its onset.


Blood Glucose instability common to brittle diabetics may be the result of the production of auto-antibodies against insulin.

When it appears that insulin regimens no longer control your diabetes, an anti-insulin antibody test is recommended. There are a variety of treatments to help stabilize this condition.

Anti-Insulin Antibodies