It has been shown that insulin associated with nanocapsules of isobutylcyanoacrylate retains biological activity after oral administration to diabetic rats from 6 to 21 days. Because part of this action is unexplained, we focused on the interaction of encapsulated insulin with the insulin receptor in vitro. We have shown that encapsulated insulin is able 1) to bind to insulin receptors both in rat liver plasma membranes and after solubilization from Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells transfected with the gene of human insulin receptor, 2) to accelerate 125I-labeled insulin dissociation from its receptor, and 3) to ensure transduction of a signal leading to stimulation of the β-subunit phosphorylation, with parameters similar to those of native insulin. In addition, encapsulated 125I-insulin was rapidly internalized in transfected CHO cells. Analysis of cell-associated radioactivity showed that encapsulated insulin remained largely intact (> 80%) after 3 h, whereas native insulin was mostly degraded. These data indicate that encapsulated insulin fulfills all the earliest events at the receptor level leading to biological actions and suggests that encapsulation protects insulin against insulin degradation inside the cells.