Insulin fragments as a carrier for peptide delivery across the blood-brain barrier

Pharm Res. 1994 Dec;11(12):1681-8. doi: 10.1023/a:1018942728317.


The possibility of using insulin (INS), which is transported into the brain by receptor-mediated transcytosis, as a peptide carrier for delivery across the blood-brain barrier (BBB) was investigated. After mice received an i.v. injection of horseradish peroxidase (HRP, M.W., 40,000) conjugated with INS, the HRP activity in the brain was higher than that after HRP injection. Since INS-HRP lowered the blood glucose level, we prepared insulin fragments by chemical and enzymatic procedures in an effort to find a carrier with no hypoglycemic activity. Seven fragments were synthesized taking the binding regions into consideration, but none showed any receptor binding affinity in cultures of bovine brain microvessel endothelial cells (BMEC). However, the fragment (F007) obtained by trypsin digestion showed high affinity and scarcely any hypoglycemic activity in mice even at a dose ten times the effective dose of insulin. These results suggest that this fragment may be useful as a carrier to transport therapeutic peptides across the BBB.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Blood-Brain Barrier*
  • Drug Carriers
  • Horseradish Peroxidase / administration & dosage
  • Insulin / administration & dosage*
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Peptide Fragments / administration & dosage*
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Drug Carriers
  • Insulin
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Horseradish Peroxidase