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 < 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 < 0.02 paired t test). Thus, intravenous insulin has greater hypoglycemic effect when pulsed, possibly mediated by greater insulin receptor binding.

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