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"These studies imply that the preservative agents found in commercial insulin formulations induce an intense localized inflammatory reaction" Kesserwan et al (2022).

Insulin infusion site inflammation

Abstract:

The approximation of euglycemia is the most effective means of preventing diabetic complications, which is achieved through effective insulin delivery. Recent reports indicate that insulin phenolic preservatives, which are found in all commercial insulin formulations, are cytotoxic, pro-inflammatory and induce secondary fibrosis. Therefore, we hypothesize that these preservatives induce an inflammatory response at the site of insulin infusion leading to diminished glycemic control and adverse pharmacokinetic outcomes. Insulin degradation by inflammatory cell proteases was quantitated following protease treatment in vitro. A modified murine air pouch model was utilized to evaluate the relative inflammatory responses following infusions of saline, insulin preservatives, and insulin, utilizing the adjuvant irritant thioglycolate. Blood glucose levels were monitored in diabetic mice with and without air pouch irritation. A pharmacokinetic analysis evaluated insulin effectiveness for diabetic mice between these two conditions. Inflammatory cells are significantly present in insulin preservative-induced inflammation, which effects diminished blood glucose control by both insulin uptake and degradation. Insulin containing these preservatives resulted in similar degrees of inflammation as observed with the irritant thioglycolate. These studies imply that the preservative agents found in commercial insulin formulations induce an intense localized inflammatory reaction. This inflammatory reaction may be responsible for the premature failure of insulin infusion devices. Future studies directed at reducing this inflammatory reaction may prove to be an important step in extending the lifespan of insulin infusion devices.

Reference:

Kesserwan S, Lewis BE, Mao L, Sharafieh R, Atwood T, Kreutzer DL, Klueh U. Inflammation at site of insulin infusion diminishes glycemic control. J Pharm Sci. 2022 Jan 2:S0022-3549(21)00722-X. doi: 10.1016/j.xphs.2021.12.025. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34986358.