Use of pure porcine insulin versus partially purified insulin of bovine/porcine origin might be expected to have certain clinical benefits, e. g., a lower incidence of skin reactions, a lower insulin dosage, better diabetes regulation, and greater preservation of endogenous insulin secretion. To test this hypothesis, we randomly assigned 112 newly diagnosed, untreated, insulin-dependent diabetic children to therapy with either pure porcine or partially purified bovine/porcine insulin. They were followed for 1 yr, data being available on at least 90 subjects at each visit. More skin reactions were found in the group treated with the bovine/porcine insulin. This insulin was of higher antigenicity, and binding of radiolabeled insulin (mean ± SE) by serum from bovine/porcine insulin treatment was 35.5 ± 2.6 versus 16.8 ± 1.4% (P < .001) for pure porcine insulin treatment 12 mo after initiation of insulin therapy. However, throughout the 12 mo of observation the levels of glycosylated hemoglobin, insulin dosage, fasting plasma glucose, and C-peptide concentration were similar for the groups. Reported incidences of hypoglycemia and nocturia were also similar. Thus, insulin-antibody formation and skin reactions were minimized by the use of pure porcine versus partially purified bovine/porcine insulin, but no other clinical advantages were apparent.

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