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The relative hypoglycemic effects of pulsatile versus steadily infused insulin have been examined in six normal subjects in whom pancreatic insulin output was suppressed by somatostatin-14. Soluble insulin was infused continuously overnight on one occasion and on another occasion the same quantity was given in pulses of 2-min duration with a gap of 11 min. The mean plasma glucose concentrations were lower when pulsed insulin was given [mean for the last hour: 4.66 +/- 0.08 mmol/L (+/- SEM) versus 5.53 +/- 0.06 mmol/L (+/- SEM) for steady infusion], diverging significantly (P less than 0.05 paired t test) 7 h after the start of the study. The specific binding of 125I(A14)mono-iodo-insulin to monocytes was greater after pulsed insulin (2.9% with pulsed versus 2.4% with steadily infused insulin at tracer-only point; P less than 0.02 paired t test). Thus, intravenous insulin has greater hypoglycemic effect when pulsed, possibly mediated by greater insulin receptor binding.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





617 - 621


Adult, Blood Glucose, C-Peptide, Drug Administration Schedule, Female, Humans, Hypoglycemia, Infusions, Parenteral, Insulin, Male, Monocytes, Receptor, Insulin, Somatostatin, Time Factors