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From New York, New York, USA:

I was recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and am still getting up to speed on many aspects of the disease. Would you please tell me what the difference is between NPH and Lente types of insulin?


Ever since insulin was first discovered, there have been attempts both to purify it and to control its duration of action either in the way it is suspended or through changes in its molecular structure.

NPH represents one of the earlier ways of prolonging the action of insulin by adsorbing it onto a mixture of a protein (Neutral Protamine) and zinc. The 'H' in NPH is after Dr. Hagedorn, the scientist that first devised it. It was the successor to a similar but longer-acting insulin called PZI (Protamine Zinc Insulin). In the Lente insulins, the insulin is precipitated as crystals in the presence of zinc: the size of the crystal determines the rate of release in the subcutaneous tissues. Both of these insulins act over the middle range with Lente being effective for a little longer.

More recently the amino acid sequence of human insulin has been re-engineered to give insulins like lispro, which has a rapid onset and an effect limited to four hours or so, and HOE 901, which is designed for even release over the 24 hours.


Original posting 18 Oct 1998
Posted to Insulin


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:02
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