Exploring Intestinal Surface Receptors in Oral Nanoinsulin Delivery

Pharmacol Rev. 2022 Oct;74(4):962-983. doi: 10.1124/pharmrev.122.000631.


Subcutaneous and inhaled insulins are associated with needle phobia, lipohypertrophy, lipodystrophy, and cough in diabetes treatment. Oral nanoinsulin has been developed, reaping the physiologic benefits of peroral administration. This review profiles intestinal receptors exploitable in targeted delivery of oral nanoinsulin. Intestinal receptor targeting improves oral insulin bioavailability and sustains blood glucose-lowering response. Nonetheless, these studies are conducted in small animal models with no optimization of insulin dose, targeting ligand type and content, and physicochemical and molecular biologic characteristics of nanoparticles against the in vivo/clinical diabetes responses as a function of the intestinal receptor population characteristics with diabetes progression. The interactive effects between nanoinsulin and antidiabetic drugs on intestinal receptors, including their up-/downregulation, are uncertain. Sweet taste receptors upregulate SGLT-1, and both have an undefined role as new intestinal targets of nanoinsulin. Receptor targeting of oral nanoinsulin represents a viable approach that is relatively green, requiring an in-depth development of the relationship between receptors and their pathophysiological profiles with physicochemical attributes of the oral nanoinsulin. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: Intestinal receptor targeting of oral nanoinsulin improves its bioavailability with sustained blood glucose-lowering response. Exploring new intestinal receptor and tailoring the design of oral nanoinsulin to the pathophysiological state of diabetic patients is imperative to raise the insulin performance to a comparable level as the injection products.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose
  • Diabetes Mellitus* / drug therapy
  • Glucose / therapeutic use
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacology
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Insulin* / chemistry
  • Insulin* / therapeutic use
  • Insulin, Regular, Human / therapeutic use
  • Nanoparticles* / chemistry


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glucose
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin
  • Insulin, Regular, Human