Human Insulin

Table of Contents

What is Human Insulin?

“Human insulin is the term used to refer to the laboratory-grown insulin that mimics the insulin that is produced by the human body.”

Human insulin is the synthetic insulin that is grown in the laboratory to imitate the insulin in humans. After developing in the 1960s to 70s, it was finally approved for medical purposes in 1982.

Before human insulin was developed, porcine insulin, and animal insulin was used by doctors.

Let us have an overview of the production of human insulin in detail.

Human Insulin


Human insulin was first synthesised in the year 1975, by Dr Teusche, in Switzerland.

The first synthetic human insulin was approved in the year 1982, by the Food and Drug Administration, US.

In the 1990s, a more advanced form of human insulin was developed. This was known as analogue insulin.

Also Read: Insulin and Glucagon

Types of Human Insulin

There are two types of human insulin:

  • Short-acting form (Regular)
  • Intermediate-acting form (Neutral Protamine Hagedorn)

Human Insulin – Explanation

In comparison to the animal insulin (extracted), the biosynthetic human insulin has better purity thereby reducing antibody formation. Human insulin is introduced into plants by some researchers to figure out a new style of producing insulin (biopharming) in safflower. This new production method is expected to reduce the cost of manufacturing insulin.

There are different analogues for the same. Most of them resemble the structure of human insulin and were manufactured for focusing on certain aspects of glycemic control regarding fast action (prandial insulins) and long action (basal insulins).

The structure of synthetic human insulin has a striking resemblance in structure to natural insulin. However once it is injected into the human system, it would not work like natural insulin. The main reason behind this phenomenon is the fact that the injected insulin would clump together and its absorption into the human body would be delayed. Hence it would not synchronize well with the needs of the human body.

Human Insulin Examples

Following are examples of human insulin:

  • NPH (intermediate-acting): Insuman basal, Humulin I, Insulatard
  • Regular (short-acting): Actrapid, Humulin S, Insuman Rapid
  • Premixed human insulins: Humulin M2, M3, and M5, Insuman Comb 15, and 50

Advantages and Disadvantages of Human Insulin

Advantage The only advantage of human insulin is that it can be produced at a very low cost.

Disadvantage – Human insulin results in side effects such as tiredness, and an increase in weight that does not occur with animal insulin.

Also Read: Diabetes Mellitus

Stay tuned with BYJU’S to learn more about Human Insulin, its definition, types and examples.

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