History of Insulin

Morag Dagen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Type 1 diabetes mellitus is an endocrine disorder in which the pancreas fails to produce the peptide hormone insulin, which is necessary for the regulation of glucose metabolism. Before the advent of insulin treatment, the condition was invariably fatal. At the beginning of the twentieth century, aware of the accumulating evidence that the hyperglycaemia of diabetes mellitus could be controlled by an extract of the pancreas, Banting and Best produced the first clinically useful insulin preparation at the University of Toronto. Insulin research led to a number of important breakthroughs in biochemistry: insulin was the first protein to be sequenced, it was the first peptide hormone shown to be formed by a posttranslational transformation of an inactive precursor and it was also the first genetically engineered protein to be approved for clinical use. Key ConceptsKey Concepts * Control of blood glucose levels is vitally important for health, and these are regulated by the hormone insulin. * Insulin is a peptide hormone produced by the pancreas. * Insufficient insulin results in the endocrine disease, diabetes mellitus. * Hyperglycaemia and glycosuria (glucose in urine) are important signs of diabetes mellitus. * Insulin and C-peptide are produced by cleavage of proinsulin, a precursor protein. * Pharmaceutical insulin preparations do not currently contain C-peptide.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationeLS
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons Ltd.
ISBN (Print)9780470015902
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • insulin, diabetes mellitus, hyperglycaemia, pancreas, peptide hormone, C-peptide


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