Self-adjusting insulin?

Researchers have developed a self-adjusting nanoparticle-based insulin formulation that may go some way towards improving blood glucose control.

A team of Chinese researchers has used a particular kind of nanoparticle to create a self-adjusting insulin release system. Biocompatible lipid nanoparticles are already widely used as drug carriers and, for this study, the researchers modified a section of the nanoparticles’ surface so that negatively charged insulin molecules could bind electrostatically to them.

Testing their insulin formulation on diabetic mice, the researchers found that when blood glucose levels were normal, insulin was released slowly. But if blood glucose was high, lipids in the nanoparticles formed chemical bonds with the glucose, reducing the positive charge on the nanoparticle’s surface and significantly accelerating insulin release. After being injected with glucose, the blood glucose levels of the diabetic mice treated with the insulin formulation fell to a normal level at the same rate as the healthy mice and maintained a normal blood glucose level for six hours.

The researchers are hopeful that, in future, this kind of glucose-responsive insulin formulation can be incorporated into wearable electronics, significantly improving blood glucose control in Type 1 diabetics.

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