Tissue selectivity of insulin detemir action in vivo

Diabetologia. 2006 Jun;49(6):1274-82. doi: 10.1007/s00125-006-0192-9. Epub 2006 Mar 29.


Aims/hypothesis: Recombinant DNA technology is a useful tool that can be used to create insulin analogues with modified absorption kinetics to improve glycaemic control in patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Among conventional insulin analogues, which are usually created by amino acid exchange, insulin detemir is the first analogue to be acylated with a fatty acid to enable reversible albumin binding. In this study we determined activation of the insulin receptor (IR)-signalling cascade by insulin detemir at the level of IR and IR substrate (Irs) phosphorylation, as well as downstream signalling elements such as phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase and Akt, and performed epidural EEG in vivo.

Methods: C57Bl/6 mice were injected i.v. with either insulin detemir or human insulin and Western blot analysis was performed on liver, muscle, hypothalamic and cerebrocortical tissues. Moreover, cerebrocortical activity was detected by EEG in awake mice and cerebral insulin concentrations were measured following human insulin and insulin detemir injection.

Results: The time course and extent of IR phosphorylation in peripheral tissues were similar following insulin detemir treatment compared with human insulin, but insulin signalling in hypothalamic and cerebrocortical tissue determined by tyrosine-phosphorylation of the IR and Irs2 proteins occurred faster and was enhanced due to a higher insulin detemir concentration in the brain. Moreover, epidural EEG in mice displayed increased cortical activity using insulin detemir.

Conclusions/interpretation: Taken together, these data suggest that insulin detemir has a tissue-selective action, with a relative preference for brain compared with peripheral tissues.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Electroencephalography
  • Insulin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Insulin / pharmacokinetics
  • Insulin Detemir
  • Insulin, Long-Acting
  • Kinetics
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / metabolism
  • Phosphorylation
  • Receptor, Insulin / physiology
  • Signal Transduction
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Insulin
  • Insulin, Long-Acting
  • Insulin Detemir
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • Receptor, Insulin