Glucose-responsive insulin patch for the regulation of blood glucose in mice and minipigs.


Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA. [Email]


Glucose-responsive insulin delivery systems that mimic pancreatic endocrine function could enhance health and improve quality of life for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes with reduced β-cell function. However, insulin delivery systems with rapid in vivo glucose-responsive behaviour typically have limited insulin-loading capacities and cannot be manufactured easily. Here, we show that a single removable transdermal patch, bearing microneedles loaded with insulin and a non-degradable glucose-responsive polymeric matrix, and fabricated via in situ photopolymerization, regulated blood glucose in insulin-deficient diabetic mice and minipigs (for minipigs >25 kg, glucose regulation lasted >20 h with patches of ~5 cm2). Under hyperglycaemic conditions, phenylboronic acid units within the polymeric matrix reversibly form glucose-boronate complexes that-owing to their increased negative charge-induce the swelling of the polymeric matrix and weaken the electrostatic interactions between the negatively charged insulin and polymers, promoting the rapid release of insulin. This proof-of-concept demonstration may aid the development of other translational stimuli-responsive microneedle patches for drug delivery.

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