Development of a Microsphere-Based System to Facilitate Real-Time Insulin Monitoring

Lindy Kahanovitz, Erkin Seker, Robert S. Marks, Martin L. Yarmush, Tania Konry, Steven J. Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: The speed of insulin absorption after subcutaneous delivery is highly variable. Incorrect assumptions about insulin pharmacokinetics compromise effective glycemic regulation. Our ultimate goal is to develop a system to monitor insulin levels in vivo continuously, allowing pharmacokinetic parameters to be calculated in real time. We hypothesize that a bead-based detection system can be run on a flow-through microfluidic platform to measure insulin in subcutaneous fluid sampled via microdialysis. As a first step in development, we focused on microsphere-based measurement of insulin. Methods: Polystyrene microspheres coated with an anti-insulin monoclonal antibody were exposed to insulin-containing solutions, and after addition of a fluorescently labeled anti-insulin monoclonal antibody with a distinct epitope, bead-associated fluorescence was detected by fluorescence microscopy in 96-well plates or in a flow-through, microfluidic platform. Results: The bead detection system in plates had a linear range in buffer for regular human insulin (RHI), insulin lispro, and insulin aspart of 15-1115 μIU/ml, 14-976 μIU/ml, and 25-836 μIU/ml, respectively. Measurement on plasma samples demonstrated proportionality between basal and peak insulin levels similar to the laboratory reference method. Preliminary results in a polydimethylsiloxane-based, flow-through, microfluidic platform showed a strong signal at peak insulin levels. Conclusions: We have developed a microsphere-based system to rapidly measure levels of insulin and insulin analogs. We have further demonstrated proof of concept that this bead detection system can be implemented in a lab-on-a-chip format, which will be further developed and combined with microdialysis for real-time monitoring of insulin in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)689-696
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Diabetes Science and Technology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering


  • insulin
  • insulin analogs
  • microfluidic
  • microsphere
  • pharmacokinetics


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