We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Recombinant Human Insulin?

By Carol Kindle
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Recombinant human insulin is a commercial hormone used to treat patients suffering from diabetes. Insulin, which is normally produced in the pancreas, serves to regulate blood sugar. It functions by allowing sugar in the blood to pass into the cells of the body so the cells can use it for energy. If a patient is diabetic and cannot produce insulin, levels of sugar in the blood will become elevated, which could cause serious health problems. Insulin must then be injected daily to maintain a constant level of blood sugar.

Insulin can be extracted from pigs or cows and be purified for use in humans. Bovine insulin from cows differs from human insulin by three amino acids, while porcine insulin from pigs only differs from human insulin by one amino acid. Some diabetic patients may develop an allergic reaction to insulin from animals if the body recognizes it as foreign. Recombinant human insulin produced in the laboratory is identical to the hormone produced naturally and typically does not cause an allergic reaction.

Recombinant deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) technology has allowed researchers to move away from animal-extracted insulin and develop a technique for making recombinant human insulin. Insulin is made up of two chains of amino acids that are linked together to make a small protein molecule. Recombinant human insulin is synthesized by inserting the DNA from each insulin chain separately into the DNA of weakened non-infectious strains of the bacteria Escherichia coli — more commonly known as E. coli.

The bacteria then undergo many cycles of cell division and can produce many copies of each of the insulin chains. Individual chains of the insulin molecule are extracted from the bacteria and purified. The two chains that make up the complete insulin molecule are then mixed and allowed to bind to each other.

Recombinant human insulin can also be cultured in yeast cells. Yeast cells can secrete the complete insulin molecule containing both chains already bound together. This is an improvement over E.coli production because it eliminates the extra step of mixing two chains together.

Once the complete recombinant human insulin molecule has been purified, other structural changes can be made to enhance the function of the molecule. Substituting one amino acid in a certain position within the molecule can result in an insulin preparation that is either rapid-acting or long-acting. These are referred to as insulin analogues, and they can remain active for different lengths of time in the body. This gives the physician and the patient flexibility in designing an insulin treatment protocol based on lifestyle.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.