An 82-year-old woman with type 2 diabetes had been treated with recombinant human insulin for 16 years. She developed large swellings in both sides of her lower abdomen. The masses were soft, painless, and located around her insulin injection sites. Based on the history and clinical features, a diagnosis of insulin-induced lipohypertrophy was made. Total resection revealed that the lesions were composed entirely of fatty tissue. Microscopic examination showed nests of mature adipocytes expanding toward the dermal reticular layer. The hypertrophic adipocytes were twice as large as those from normal subcutaneous areas and contained numerous small lipid droplets. Electron microscopic analysis also revealed a minor population of small adipocytes, suggesting active differentiation or proliferation. Thus, the possible in vivo effects of insulin on adipocytes were clearly observed in this case of insulin-induced lipohypertrophy. To our knowledge, this is the first report of insulin-induced lipohypertrophy with detailed histological examinations.
The Japan Endocrine Society