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What Is Insulin and How Do We Produce It?

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas to battle rising blood sugar levels caused by normal carbohydrate intake. A diabetic person is unable to produce Insulin at all so must take injections to keep blood sugar levels at an acceptable level.

Insulin causes cells in the liver, muscle, and fat tissue to absorb glucose from the blood. Recombinant DNA technology is used to synthetically create Insulin for medical use. A type 1 diabetic can take insulin in the form of injections in a Multiple Daily Injections scheme or with the use of an insulin pump which closely mimics the action of a real pancreas.

The cause of type 1 diabetes is not yet understood fully which makes finding a cure very difficult. Usually children and young adults are diagnosed and most continue to live a normal healthy life by learning to manage and control the condition

Insulin contains two separate amino acid chains bonded together. Proteins are all made up of amino acids, the basic building blocks. The two chains have slightly different amounts of amino acids.

Preproinsulin is required to be produced before an active insulin protein can be made. Preproinsulin is a single protein chain containing both of the separate chains, a section in the middle links the chains together and stimulates the proteins to secret. An evolution then occurs developing proinsulin and finally an active insulin protein is formed which does not have the linking section between the individual chains.

Specific enzymes are required by the protein at each step of evolution to ensure the next step is accurately generated.

Insulin production is a lengthy and complicated process but the millions of type one diabetics rely on it every day to keep well and healthy.

POSTED ON October 21, 2010, ,