23 May 2023

Self-regulating insulin

Researchers have developed a new insulin formulation using nanoparticles that self-regulate according to blood glucose levels.

Patients with type I diabetes must constantly monitor their blood glucose levels with insulin. And there is an important balance: too much insulin will lead to low blood glucose levels (hypoglycemia) and too little will lead to hyperglycemia. Researchers have developed a self-adjusting nanoparticle-based insulin formulation that can help improve blood glucose control.
Biocompatible lipid nanoparticles are already widely used as drug carriers. In addition, they have a homogeneous chemical structure. For this study, scientists modified the surface area of the nanoparticles so that it could carry many positive charges. Negatively charged insulin molecules bind electrostatically to the lipid nanoparticles.

Testing the updated insulin formulation on mice with diabetes, the researchers found that when blood glucose levels were normal, insulin was released slowly. But if blood glucose levels were high, the lipids in the nanoparticles formed chemical bonds with the glucose, reducing the positive charge on the nanoparticle surface and greatly accelerating insulin release. In simple terms, it worked "as it should.

After glucose injection, blood glucose levels in diabetic mice receiving the insulin compound dropped to normal levels at the same rate as in healthy mice and maintained normal blood glucose levels for six hours.

The researchers hope that in the future, such a glucose-sensitive insulin composition could be used in wearable electronics, which would greatly improve blood glucose control in type 1 diabetic patients.

Source: Angewandte Chemie

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