Diagnostic and management challenges from childhood, puberty through to transition in severe insulin resistance due to insulin receptor mutations

Christina Wei, Christine P Burren*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Two Caucasian girls, both of normal weight and body mass indices, were diagnosed with type A insulin resistance (IR) in childhood. Case 1 presented with premature adrenarche aged 7 years, then by age 12 years had hirsutism, acne, acanthosis nigricans, and asymptomatic diabetes. Subsequent investigation revealed raised adiponectin (15.3 mg/L) and heterozygous p.Pro1205Leu mutation in the INSR gene encoding the insulin receptor. She experienced postprandial hypoglycaemia on metformin; acarbose was trialled and discontinued aged 16 years, as she became normoglycaemic. Hirsutism was treated with topical eflornithine, oral spironolactone and flutamide, and laser therapy. Unfortunately, diabetes reemerged in young adulthood with obesity. Case 2: during an emergency admission for acute abdominal pain aged 11 years, hyperglycaemia was noted which led to further investigation. An oral glucose tolerance test showed diabetes and ultrasound showed polycystic ovaries. Further investigations revealed raised adiponectin (18 mg/L) and compound heterozygous mutations in the INSR gene: p.Pro1263Ala and p.Ser748Leu (latter probable normal variant). She was treated with metformin and experienced postprandial hypoglycaemia. Symptoms of hyperandrogenism were controlled by flutamide. She maintained a healthy weight and reassessment at young adulthood showed resolution of diabetes. Type A IR may present in childhood with overlapping features of common endocrine entities such as premature adrenarche and polycystic ovarian syndrome. Patients with abnormal glucose tolerance yet normal weight merit screening with adiponectin; raised adiponectin levels prompt insulin receptor mutational analysis. Postprandial hypoglycaemia is characteristic. Management includes optimization of glycaemic control with oral hypoglycaemic agents and maintenance of healthy weight, and controlling the effects of hyperandrogenism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)835-838
Number of pages4
JournalPediatric Diabetes
Issue number8
Early online date17 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


  • adiponectin
  • hyperandrogenism
  • hyperinsulinism
  • insulin receptor mutation
  • type A insulin resistance


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