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Why Is Insulin So Expensive

Insulin Function & Types | Synthesis , Secretion & Regulation | Diabetes

Though reforms are underway in many parts of the US, insulin costs are still prohibitively high for many people with diabetes. Reasons include the complexity of the pharmaceutical supply chain and lack of generic substitutes. The American Diabetes Association has advocated for policy changes that would stop the trend of rising insulin costs and improve affordable access to insulin read their policy statement on the issue here.

Evolution And Species Distribution

Insulin may have originated more than a billion years ago. The molecular origins of insulin go at least as far back as the simplest unicellular eukaryotes. Apart from animals, insulin-like proteins are also known to exist in the Fungi and Protista kingdoms.

Insulin is produced by beta cells of the pancreatic islets in most vertebrates and by the Brockmann body in some teleost fish.Cone snailsConus geographus and Conus tulipa, venomous sea snails that hunt small fish, use modified forms of insulin in their venom cocktails. The insulin toxin, closer in structure to fishes’ than to snails’ native insulin, slows down the prey fishes by lowering their blood glucose levels.

The Mapk Signaling Pathway

The MAPK pathway is activated when IRS-1 binds to growth factor receptor-bound protein 2 . SOS binds to Grb2 and then to Ras, causing GDPâGTP exchange and the activation of Ras.

Activated Ras recruits c-Raf, which phosphorylates and activates MAPK/Erk kinase . MEK then phosphorylates extracellular signal-regulated kinase . Once activated, Erk is translocated to the nucleus, where its subsequent phosphorylation and transcriptional activation by transcription factors, such as ELK1, ultimately promote cell division, protein synthesis, and cell growth .

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The Link Between The Gut And The Pancreas

Insulin is produced in higher amounts when sugar passes through the gut compared to when glucose is injected into the veins . This is because when sugar enters the gut, messages are sent from the gut to the pancreas to produce more insulin. These messages are chemicals called peptides. The best known gut peptide controlling insulin is called GLP1 . GLP1 speaks to the pancreas after glucose enters the gut, telling it to produce insulin at the right time. It is now known that in type 2 diabetes, GLP1 levels are too low, which is partly why blood sugar levels go too high after a meal . There are now many medicines that increase GLP1 levels to control post-prandial hyperglycaemia which are therefore good treatments for type 2 diabetes.

Last reviewed: Jul 2022

Goals Of Insulin Therapy

Insulin, and how the body controls storage and burning of glucose and ...

The main objective of Insulin therapy is to keep your blood sugar level in the normal range. Keeping blood sugar in control ensures stable health for the body. Generally, Insulin therapy is recommended for people with type 1 and type 2 Diabetes. Through the aid of Insulin therapy, a Diabetes patients blood sugar level is normalised, and the complications and risk factors that occur due to high blood sugar levels are diminished.

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How Do You Take Insulin

The most common way of intaking insulin is Subcutaneous insulin injections. A person can intake insulins through an insulin syringe, insulin pen, insulin pumps and vials. Insulin can be injected into the body via the abdomen, upper arm, lower back, hips and buttocks.

Following are the ways to inject insulin into your body:

  • Gently pinch the skin and insert the needle at an angle of 45 degrees.
  • If your skin tissues are hard, insert the needle at an angle of 90 degrees.
  • Now, push the needle into the skin.
  • After injection, rub your skin gently with cotton.

Physiologic Effects Of Insulin

Stand on a streetcorner and ask people if they know what insulin is, and many will reply, “Doesn’t it have something to do with blood sugar?” Indeed, that is correct, but such a response is a bit like saying “Mozart? Wasn’t he some kind of a musician?”

Insulin is a key player in the control of intermediary metabolism, and the big picture is that it organizes the use of fuels for either storage or oxidation. Through these activities, insulin has profound effects on both carbohydrate and lipid metabolism, and significant influences on protein and mineral metabolism. Consequently, derangements in insulin signalling have widespread and devastating effects on many organs and tissues.

The Insulin Receptor and Mechanism of Action

Like the receptors for other protein hormones, the receptor for insulin is embedded in the plasma membrane. The insulin receptor is composed of two alpha subunits and two beta subunits linked by disulfide bonds. The alpha chains are entirely extracellular and house insulin binding domains, while the linked beta chains penetrate through the plasma membrane.

Insulin and Carbohydrate Metabolism

It should be noted here that there are some tissues that do not require insulin for efficient uptake of glucose: important examples are brain and the liver. This is because these cells don’t use GLUT4 for importing glucose, but rather, another transporter that is not insulin-dependent.

Insulin and Lipid Metabolism

Other Notable Effects of Insulin

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Answer Insulin Is Produced And Secreted By The Pancreas


Insulin is the hormone that regulates blood sugar depending on their levels and where they are needed, insulin directs them towards various cells in the body, or for storage in the liver. When sugar first enters the bloodstream, insulin levels rise as well, directing it towards cells and facilitating its entry into them. In case of excess blood sugar, insulin signals the liver to store it. And as blood sugar levels drop, so do those of insulin.

Thus, the hormone is extremely important for the dissemination of sugars throughout the body, as well as a means to monitor blood sugar levels.

The gland responsible for the production of insulin is the pancreas. It is located in the abdomen, and functions as an exocrine as well as an endocrine gland. It is in its capacity as an endocrine gland that it produces and secretes insulin.

The Role Of Insulin Receptors

Endocrinology | Pancreas: Insulin Function

First described by scientists in 1971, insulin receptors contain special proteins called insulin responsive substrates that mediate the effects of insulin on the body’s cells.

Four distinct IRS proteins have been identified and named : IRS 1, IRS 2, IRS 3, and IRS 4.

IRS 1 controls most actions of insulin in the skeletal muscle cells. IRS 2 handles the liver as well as peripheral insulin signals and the development of pancreatic beta cells. The roles of IRS 3 and 4 remain somewhat more mysterious. IRS 3 can be found in fat cells as well as in beta cells and in the liver, while IRS 4 appear in the thymus, brain, and kidneys.

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Insulin And Insulin Resistance

Go to: Abstract As obesity and diabetes reach epidemic proportions in the developed world, the role of insulin resistance and its consequences are gaining prominence. Understanding the role of insulin in wide-ranging physiological processes and the influences on its synthesis and secretion, alongside its actions from the molecular to the whole body level, has significant implications for much chronic disease seen in Westernised populations today. This review provides an overview of insulin, its history, structure, synthesis, secretion, actions and interactions followed by a discussion of insulin resistance and its associated clinical manifestations. Specific areas of focus include the actions of insulin and manifestations of insulin resistance in specific organs and tissues, physiological, environmental and pharmacological influences on insulin action and insulin resistance as well as clinical syndromes associated with insulin resistance. Clinical and functional measures of insulin resistance are also covered. Despite our incomplete understanding of the complContinue reading > >

Insulin And Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is characterised by the body not responding effectively to insulin. This is termed insulin resistance. As a result the body is less able to take up glucose from the blood. In the earlier stages of type 2 diabetes, the body responds by producing more insulin than it would normally need to.

If type 2 diabetes develops over a number of years, the extra demands on the pancreas to produce insulin can lead to a loss of insulin producing cells as they wear out.

Depending on their level of insulin resistance, people with type 2 diabetes may also need to take insulin injections to manage their blood sugar levels.

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Biosynthesis And Export Of Insulin In Pancreatic

Insulin synthesis, processing, and packaging in pancreatic -cells

Humans have a single insulin gene, INS , located on chromosome 11, the transcription of which is controlled largely by upstream enhancer elements that bind key transcription factors that include IDX1 , MafA, and NeuroD1 along with numerous coregulators . In the insulin-producing pancreatic -cells, these are required for insulin gene expression and contribute to the regulation of INS transcription in response to glucose and autocrine insulin signaling . Given the role of these enhancer elements, transcription factors, and their coregulators in controlling the expression of insulin and many additional components of the -cell secretory pathway, such as glucose transporter 2 and the insulin processing enzyme PC1/3, they are key defining contributors to the establishment and maintenance of -cell identity .

Transit of immature secretory granules through the TGN, and their subsequent budding and maturation, is controlled by a host of regulatory proteins, including newly identified vesicle-sorting by proteins such as SORCS1 and HID-1 . Insulin biosynthesis in this manner is generally rapid and efficient, with only 12% of the protein remaining as proinsulin within mature secretory granules where insulin couples with Zn2+ and exists as a hexameric crystal with the cation. Transport of the insulin hexamer into the secretory granules is thought to be mediated by ZnT8 or related zinc transporters .

Maintains Amino Acid Uptake

[PDF] The cell biology of systemic insulin function

Another function or role of insulin is that it compels cells the absorb of circulating amino acids. A decrease in insulin levels inhibits this absorption. Individuals with low insulin levels have high blood amino acids. Introducing insulin in their systems brings down amino acid levels in the blood to normal values. In other words, insulin promotes the synthesis or metabolism of protein from circulating amino acids.

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Insulin And Circulatory System

Our circulatory system makes sure that everything in the body goes well. When there isnt enough insulin in the blood then glucose gets back into the bloodstream from the storage cells. This increases the glucose level in the body which could cause diabetes and nervous disorders if the level exceeds the normal range.

On the other hand, if there is insulin in the blood then it maintains our glucose level and everything performs well.

In this way, our circulatory system ensures the proper amount of insulin when needed.

Insulin And Metabolic Processes

The most crucial role of insulin in the body is its interaction with glucose to permit the cells of the body to use glucose as energy. The pancreas usually produces more insulin in reaction to a spike in blood sugar level level, for instance after consuming a meal high in energy. This is since the insulin functions as a crucial to open up the cells in the body and enables the glucose to be used as an energy source.

Additionally, when there is excess glucose in the blood stream, referred to as hyperglycemia, insulin encourages the storage of glucose as glycogen in the liver, muscle and fat cells. These stores can then be used at a later date when energy requirements are higher. As a result of this, there is less insulin in the bloodstream, and normal blood glucose levels are brought back.

Insulin promotes the synthesis of glycogen in the liver, however when the liver is filled with glycogen, an alternative pathway takes control of. This includes the uptake of extra glucose into adipose tissue, causing the synthesis of lipoproteins.

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Energy Creation And Distribution

What is the role of insulin, and how does it help your body?

The function of insulin is to help transform glucose into energy and distribute it throughout your body, including the central nervous system and cardiovascular system.

Without insulin, cells are starved for energy and must seek an alternative source. This can lead to life threatening complications.

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What Conditions Are Related To Issues With Glucagon Function

People with diabetes can develop an inability to release enough glucagon in response to decreasing blood glucose levels. Because of this, theyre more likely to develop frequent low or severely low blood sugars if they take medication that could cause low blood sugars especially synthetic insulin and medications in the class of sulfonylurea.

People with Type 2 diabetes may have glucagon levels that are relatively higher than what would be considered normal based on blood glucose levels. This can contribute to higher blood sugars.

Glucagon production issues outside diabetes are uncommon, and some are rare. The following conditions can affect or be affected by your glucagon function:

What Are The Different Types Of Insulin

The American Diabetes Association characterizes insulin by how fast it works. But everyones body is different. If you have diabetes, you should expect deviations in the amount of time any medication takes to reach your bloodstream. Here are a few useful terms related to how fast and how long insulin acts in your body:

  • Onset is defined as the length of time before insulin hits your bloodstream and begins to lower blood glucose.

  • Peak is the time during which insulin is at its maximum effectiveness at lowering your blood glucose levels.

  • Duration is the length of time insulin continues to lower your blood glucose levels.

These are the five main types of insulin that doctors prescribe:

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Store Excess Glucose For Energy

There is a condition called Hyperglycemia, where extra glucose is deposited in the bloodstream. In these cases, insulin helps to store the extra glucose in the form of glycogen in the muscle, liver and fat cells.

These are later used in the condition whenever energy is required. Due to this, blood glucose levels are restored, and insulin level is stabilised. It helps in the synthesis of glycogen in the liver.

How To Enhance Insulin Function

Insulin and glucose release regulation educational scheme â VectorMine

Aside from the nutritional strategy of minimizing large spikes in blood glucose, the most effective way to enhance insulin function is to stay physically active.

It makes sense that insulin is an important factor in making sure the body is properly fueled for physical activity. Insulin helps deliver glucose from the blood into the muscle cell. Once in the muscle, glucose is metabolized to produce energy to support physical exertion. Insulin also stores excess glucose as glycogen so that it can be used for energy at a later time.

Dietary protein and amino acids can also stimulate insulin release. Consuming a balance of carbohydrate and protein, such as supplemental amino acids, during exercise has been proven to stimulate more insulin than carbohydrate alone, resulting in faster delivery of glucose to working muscles.

Insulin is also needed to optimize recovery of muscles from a hard workout. Immediately after exercise, the muscle is primed to replenish fuel stores like glycogen and to rebuild and repair muscle proteins. During this period, insulin accelerates the rate at which glycogen and protein synthesis proceeds, up to 2 to 3 times the normal rate as long as carbohydrate and protein are ingested and made available.

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How Insulin Is Made

Insulin is produced by the pancreas, a gland-like organ nestled in the curve of the duodenum , just behind the stomach. The pancreas functions both as an exocrine gland and an endocrine gland.

The exocrine function of the pancreas is to help with digestion. The endocrine function of the pancreas is to produce insulin and another hormone called glucagon that helps regulate blood sugar. The pancreatic cells that produce glucagon are called alpha cells.

Insulin is produced by specialized beta cells in the pancreas, which are clustered into groups called islets of Langerhans, or islets for short. A healthy adult pancreas has approximately one million islets, composing about 5% of the entire organ.

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