Heat-stability study of various insulin types in tropical temperature conditions: New insights towards improving diabetes care.
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AbstractStrict storage recommendations for insulin are difficult to follow in hot tropical regions and even more challenging in conflict and humanitarian emergency settings, adding an extra burden to the management of people with diabetes. According to pharmacopeia unopened insulin vials must be stored in a refrigerator (2-8°C), while storage at ambient temperature (25-30°C) is usually permitted for the 4-week usage period during treatment. In the present work we address a critical question towards improving diabetes care in resource poor settings, namely whether insulin is stable and retains biological activity in tropical temperatures during a 4-week treatment period. To answer this question, temperature fluctuations were measured in Dagahaley refugee camp (Northern Kenya) using log tag recorders. Oscillating temperatures between 25 and 37°C were observed. Insulin heat stability was assessed under these specific temperatures which were precisely reproduced in the laboratory. Different commercialized formulations of insulin were quantified weekly by high performance liquid chromatography and the results showed perfect conformity to pharmacopeia guidelines, thus confirming stability over the assessment period (four weeks). Monitoring the 3D-structure of the tested insulin by circular dichroism confirmed that insulin monomer conformation did not undergo significant modifications. The measure of insulin efficiency on insulin receptor (IR) and Akt phosphorylation in hepatic cells indicated that insulin bioactivity of the samples stored at oscillating temperature during the usage period is identical to that of the samples maintained at 2-8°C. Taken together, these results indicate that insulin can be stored at such oscillating ambient temperatures for the usual four-week period of use. This enables the barrier of cold storage during use to be removed, thereby opening up the perspective for easier management of diabetes in humanitarian contexts and resource poor settings.
PublisherPublic Library of Science