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Åke Lernmark

Principal investigator

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Plasmapheresis in the initial treatment of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus in children


  • J. Ludvigsson
  • L. Heding
  • G. Lieden
  • B. Marner
  • A. Lernmark

Summary, in English

Several factors indicate that autoimmune mechanisms may play a part in the aetiology of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. At the onset of the disease in 10 children (aged 11-16 years) plasmapheresis was performed four times over one to two weeks. Seventeen age-matched children with the same clinical features served as controls. The C-peptide concentrations at onset were the same in the two groups, but after one month the children treated with plasmapheresis had significantly higher values. This difference became even more pronounced after three, nine, and 18 months, both during fasting and at the maximum response to a standardised meal. The study group also had a significantly more stable metabolism, longer partial remission, and no higher insulin requirements. Of the 10 treated children islet-cell cytoplasmic antibodies were present in seven before plasmapheresis and in nine during treatment. The antibodies remained detectable in five and six out of nine patients at one and six months respectively after plasmapheresis. Although the mechanisms are obscure, plasmapheresis performed at the onset of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus may help to preserve beta-cell function.

Publishing year







British Medical Journal





Document type

Journal article


BMJ Publishing Group


  • Endocrinology and Diabetes




  • ISSN: 0959-8146