Could insulin-loaded nasal gel mean– the end of injections for diabetics?

November 9, 2012

(Phys.org)—Scientists have developed a once-a-day nasal gel formulation for the delivery of insulin that could put an end to injections for Type 1 diabetes sufferers.

In results published today in the journal Biomaterials Science, researchers show that the -loaded reduces levels over 24 hours in a diabetic-rat model when administered via the nose.

Tests using mucus-producing cells to model conditions in the nose showed that eight times as much insulin was taken up by the cells when incubated with the insulin-loaded gel formulation, compared with a simple solution of insulin in water.

Scientists performed further tests on the gel formulation using diabetic-rat models. Their results showed that the rats' blood glucose levels fell following nasal administration of the insulin-loaded gel and then took around 24 hours to return to their original values.

By comparison, they found that it took only nine hours for blood to return to their original values in control models treated with insulin by the normal route of subcutaneous injection.

Treatment for patients with usually involves numerous daily injections of insulin to keep their under control. This can be distressing and inconvenient.

Administering insulin via a nasal spray is an attractive alternative to injections because it is a much easier and less painful way for diabetic patients to control their condition.

Nasal delivery of insulin is an attractive focus for researchers because inside the nose is low, meaning that insulin solutions are less likely to be destroyed by the body's natural defence systems.

The main barrier to nasal delivery of insulin is a process called mucociliary clearance, which is designed to remove foreign bodies from the . During this process, nasal cilia beat in a coordinated fashion to transport foreign entities captured in mucus away from the nose.

A further barrier to nasal delivery is the existence of tight junctions between epithelial cells in the mucous membranes inside the nose, which can prevent the penetration of large molecules such as insulin.

A collaborative research team from universities in the UK, Italy, Lebanon and Greece has developed a formulation for the nasal delivery of insulin that overcomes these barriers by using a specific combination of chemicals.

The formulation exists as a liquid at low temperatures, meaning that it can be easily administered as a nasal spray. Once inside the nose, the liquid heats up to body temperature and a chemical component in the formulation causes it to turn into a viscous sticky gel that disturbs the rhythm of the beating nasal cilia. This allows the gel to remain inside the nose with enough time to administer the insulin.

A further chemical component in the gel, called N-trimethyl chitosan, helps to open the tight junctions between cells in the mucous membranes, allowing the insulin to penetrate.

Dr Hamde Nazar from the University of Sunderland in the UK, who led the research said: "Our data highlights the potential of the formulation as a once-a-day dosage form for the delivery of insulin through the nasal route. However, its relative merit for the treatment of the human diabetes condition can only be assessed in the clinic."

Explore further: Toward a new oral delivery system for insulin using nanoshell shields

Related Stories

Exercise pivotal in preventing and fighting type II diabetes

February 7, 2007

One in three American children born in 2000 will develop type II diabetes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A new study at the University of Missouri-Columbia says that acute exercise ...

Pumpkin: A fairytale end to insulin injections?

July 9, 2007

Compounds found in pumpkin could potentially replace or at least drastically reduce the daily insulin injections that so many diabetics currently have to endure. Recent research reveals that pumpkin extract promotes regeneration ...

Recommended for you

Chemists solve major piece of cellular mystery

August 27, 2015

Not just anything is allowed to enter the nucleus, the heart of eukaryotic cells where, among other things, genetic information is stored. A double membrane, called the nuclear envelope, serves as a wall, protecting the contents ...

Study reveals how nanochannels select potassium ions

August 25, 2015

(Phys.org)—One of the mysteries in biology is how cells can selectively diffuse potassium across a membrane. Biological systems rely on a delicate balance between these potassium and sodium ion concentrations in the surrounding ...

Unusual use of blue pigment found in ancient mummy portraits

August 26, 2015

Mostly untouched for 100 years, 15 Roman-era Egyptian mummy portraits and panel paintings were literally dusted off by scientists and art conservators from Northwestern University and the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.