How long do antibodies last?

My doctor mentioned to me that he would be doing the GAD 65 and IA2 tests, and that he expected it to be okay because there would probably still be antibodies even though my onset was in April this year.

I didn’t realise that the antibodies disappeared. Why/how does this happen?

I still have insulin and GAD antibodies as of last month. And I was diagnosed in November 1994.

I do not have IA2 antibodies, as far as I know. I don’t understand the mechanisms at work here either. But my doctor did tell me that using injectable insulin, particularly beef/pork but even Humalog, can cause insulin antibodies. Insulin antibodies can make insulin less effective and consistent in action. She switched me to Apidra to address this in part, as it is protein-encapsulated and less of a problem with regards to antibodies and even infusion site irritation.

well I guess your antibodies are just dissapearing becoz in Type 1 they just kill eachother, that’s why it calls autoimmune desease…My diabetes was discovered in January 2008 but for months they were not sure is it diabetes or some disturbance…In July they said Type 2…In August I got tablets but after that was worser and worser…I lost some kgs, my sug was very high, and then I went to daily hospital in the clinic for diabetes…there I got new medicine (Glucobay) but it was ok for some weeks, but now I see its worser again…My doc told me that my pancreas is almost done (how did this happen in 11 months? when I was there in Jan they said I still have 5-10-15-20 years to develop diabetes and that I’m one of luckiest to come on time, even before it started. But after 11 months seems my antibodies are just gone) and that I should start with insuline very soon…My immunity was always weak, when I get a cold it lasts for at least 5 weeks…last time even more…now I have a cold again, after a month…I hate it…Bought Colostrum with Beta glucan, they said it gives great results, I will try ;-)))…Maybe you should also try with Colostrum…Take care, Ivana

I don’t believe antibodies do disappear, they are what provides us with a continuous immunity to things like measles, you get it once and never again. In our case, the antibodies attack insulin producing cells instead of an invading virus. Maybe someone with a better medical background could verify that?

I have some recollection of coming across an article that said that antibodies do disappear after a while - it’s like when you need to be re-immunized for, say, hepatitis every 10 years.

Actually, see this article:, which states, in relevant part, "After diagnosis, probably in parallel with ß-cell destruction, islet antibodies disappear in type 1 diabetic children when the duration of diabetes increases, ICAs more rapidly than IA-2As and GADAs. It is unclear how long after the diagnosis of diabetes islet antibodies remain in adults and whether there are differences between the three antibodies in this respect. (citations omitted).

According to this chat about the INGAP study:

“Dr. Aaron Vinik
The interesting thing about antibodies is that at the onset of diabetes, when it first starts, about 95% of patients have antibodies to islets present in their blood. Each year as diabetes goes along fewer and fewer patients have antibodies so that when diabetes has been present for 20 years only about 5% of people have antibodies to islets. Thus the window of opportunity is large. Also to answer another question, it is clear that this form of treatment will not only apply to newly diagnosed diabetics.”

ah, then maybe instead of never disappearing, they do disappear, but our bodies retain the capacity to rapidly make them again if needed?

Probably, though I think the body can forget and need to be retrained eventually, as in revaccinations.

What’s interesting is that most T1 diabetics still maintain some minimal detectable c-peptide production even decades out, which suggests that there are still a few beta cells hanging around. Saw this in one of my parents’ copies of “Endocrine Today” or some other medical trade rag. Not clear why, in the absence of all antibodies, these shouldn’t start to regenerate. Of course, there are several unknowns - if there are some small quantity of antibodies (below the detectable levels with the current titers), how long beta cells take to regenerate/reproduce, what kind of a beta cell mass you’d need to have around to start noticing it, and whether taking exogenous insulin (which, as we know, suppresses to some degree production of endogenous insulin) has the effect of slowing/preventing beta cell regeneration. On those questions, ask someone who actually has a clue :slight_smile: