Diabetes is a metabolic disorder characterized by hyperglycemia due to defective insulin secretion or its biological dysfunction. However, frequent subcutaneous injection of insulin often results in discomfort and local tissue infection. Herein, we demonstrate the successful fabrication of a mini-tablet system based on self-propelled micromotors with biocompatibility and biodegradability for oral colon administration of insulin. The insulin layer is first constructed onto the surface of a magnesium based micromotor via electrostatic interactions, followed by a tableting process. The resulting mini-tablets are then coated with esterified starch with colonic degradation capability, thus achieving controlled release of the embedded micromotors in the colon region. In the meantime, autonomous movement of the released micromotors with a speed up to 76.22 μm·s-1 further results in enhanced colonic uptake and absorption of insulin, realizing long-term control of blood glucose for more than 5 h. Our micromotor based mini-tablet system can not only broaden the biomedical applications of emerging self-propelled micromotors but also offer an appealing strategy for oral administration of biomacromolecular drugs represented by insulin.
Keywords: colon administration; insulin; micromotor; mini-tablets; self-propulsion.