General Health

Insulin and its Analogs: Advances in Diabetes Management

Insulin – An Introduction

Insulin is a peptide hormone created by pancreatic islets of Beta cells. Dr. Frederick G. Banting was the first person to segregate the secretions from the islet cells. Insulin is a significant participant intermediary metabolism as it catalogs the use of fuels for both storage and oxidation. This hormone mainly affects carbohydrate and lipid metabolism, and even influences protein and mineral metabolism. Therefore, unregulated insulin signaling have extensive effects on numerous organs and tissues.

Insulin protein has two diverse chains of amino acids, an A and a B chain, held together by disulfide bonds. Amino acids are the basic building blocks of proteins. Insulin A chain consists of 21 amino acids, the B chain has 30 and the overall molecular mass is about 5808 Daltons. The pancreatic islets beta cells synthesize insulin. Insulin mRNA is translated into a single-chain precursor of 110 amino acids called preproinsulin. After translation, it passes through the rough endoplasmic reticulum where the 24 amino acid N-terminal signal peptides are removed to form proinsulin. Proinsulin has 3 domains: carboxyl-terminal A chain, amino-terminal B chain, and connecting peptide (C-peptide). The C-peptide and 4 basic amino acids are proteolysed, transforming proinsulin to insulin.

The function of insulin and its analogs

Insulin signaling begins by binding to its cell surface insulin receptor, a tyrosine kinase receptor. The kinase is consequently autophosphorylated and activated to tyrosine which go on to phosphorylate source cellular substrates vital for entraining the insulin reaction

The insulin receptor is a tyrosine kinase receptor. It functions as an enzyme that transports phosphate groups from ATP to tyrosine residues on intracellular proteins. When insulin binds to the alpha subunits, the beta subunits phosphorylates them (autophosphorylation), thus activating the catalytic action of the receptor. The activated receptor after that phosphorylates numerous intracellular proteins, which in turn modifies their action, thereby generating a biological reaction.

What is an Insulin analog?

An analog implies correspondence or partial similarity to something else. Consequently, “insulin” analogs are analogs that are intended to mimic the body’s natural prototype of insulin release. This synthetic-made insulin is called analogs of human insulin. Analog insulin is birthed and borne in the laboratory. It is genetically changed to produce either a quick-acting or a consistent-acting form of insulin. Conversely, they have minor structural or amino acid changes that set them apart in individuality when injected under the skin. Insulin analogs are of two types: Rapid-acting insulin analogs and Long-acting insulin analogs

Rapid-acting insulin analogs

It is also referred to as the fastest working insulin. They consist of Aspart, Lispro and Glulisine.

Rapid-acting insulin analogs enter the bloodstream immediately, so it is vital to introduce them within 5 to 10 minutes of consumption. They have a peak action phase of 60-120 minutes and weaken after four hours. Higher doses may last some extent longer but not over 5-6 hours. Rapid-acting insulin analogs are perfect for bolus insulin substitutes. Rapid-acting insulins are used in insulin pumps, otherwise known as continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion (CSII) devices. While delivering through a CSII pump, the rapid-acting insulin offers the basal insulin substitute plus the mealtime and high blood sugar alteration insulin substitute.

Long-acting insulin analogs

Insulin facilitated for the highest phases of time are referred to as long-acting insulin. They offer a fairly unvarying insulin level that lasts for many hours following injection. Occasionally this insulin is called “peakless” insulin. They take around 60-90 minutes to act, and their actions progressively wanes over the next 12-24 hours. They consist of Detemir and Glargine. Long-acting insulin analogs are appropriate for basal insulin substitutes. It is significant to get insulin detemir and glargine at a similar time(s) all day to keep up the most conventional level of basal insulin.

Advantages of analog insulin

Rapid-acting insulin works almost immediately after it is injected and long-acting insulin has no peak action. Rapid-acting insulin is predominantly helpful for people who are insulin reliant as minimizes sharp spikes in blood sugar after eating. Long-acting analog insulin has become widespread since not having a peak action phase allows various people to have more buoyancy that they will keep away from nighttime hypos.

Disadvantages of analog insulin

It has been reported that analog insulin may cause unnecessary side effects such as sluggishness and weight gain that are not see while consuming animal insulins.

To date, there is no convincing evidence to refuse this. Analog insulin is still a moderately novel treatment and consequently, there is a need for the extensive study. In 2009, a four-country discovered a prospective connection between the use of Lantus (glargine) and the growth of cancer. Conversely, after review, the European Medicines Agency concluded that the study to not be reliable enough to either authenticate or reject the connection and consequently unfurnished Lantus as safe.


Treatment with insulin analogs compared to conventional human insulin appeared to help with glycaemic management as reflected in HbA1c level, postprandial blood glucose, and fasting blood glucose. It is suggested that insulin analogs should be made accessible for the treatment of both type 1 and type 2 diabetics who have intermittent hypoglycemia. More high-quality clinical trials are needed to provide confirmation of the long-term safety and efficacy of insulin analogs. While insulin analogs could be measured cost-effective in some countries, international comparisons of financially viable evaluations are limited.


Mohamed Fahad

Mohamed Fahad is an enthusiast Biotechnologist, and he has over 3 plus years of expertise in Mammalian cell culture and related cell-based assays for biologics drug development in the field of Biopharma. Currently, he is working as a Research Associate in Stelis Biopharma Ltd, Bengaluru, India.

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