The key difference between human insulin and porcine insulin is that human insulin is a synthetic form of insulin created in the laboratory by growing insulin protein within E. coli bacteria, while porcine insulin is a purified form of insulin isolated from the pancreas of pigs.
Insulin is a peptide hormone produced by the beta cells of the pancreas. Insulin is also the main anabolic hormone of the body. Normally, this hormone regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and protein by promoting the absorption of glucose from the blood into the liver, fat, and skeletal muscle cells. In these cells, glucose converts to glycogen or fats through glycogenesis or lipogenesis. When insulin in the body decreases due to damaged beta cells of the pancreas, people get a disease called diabetes. These people should take supplements with insulin hormone externally. Human insulin and porcine insulin are two forms of insulin hormone.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Human Insulin
3. What is Porcine Insulin
4. Similarities – Human Insulin and Porcine Insulin
5. Human Insulin vs Porcine Insulin in Tabular Form
6. Summary – Human Insulin vs Porcine Insulin
What is Human Insulin?
Human insulin is a synthetic version of insulin that is laboratory-grown to mimic the insulin in humans. It is created in the laboratory by growing the insulin protein within E. coli bacteria. Human insulin was first grown between the period of 1960s and 1970s. The technique used was recombinant DNA technology. Later in 1982, it was approved for pharmaceutical usage.
Human insulin is in two forms: short-acting form (regular) and intermediate-acting form (NPH). The short-acting form starts to act about 30 minutes after injecting. The peak action of this form occurs between 2 to 3 hours after injecting. The intermediate-acting form takes about 2 to 4 hours to start acting. The intermediate-acting form has a peak action between 4 to 10 hours after injecting. The advantage of human insulin is it can be created in large amounts at a relatively low cost. However, it has some side effects such as hypo awareness, tiredness, and weight increase, which may not be found when using animal insulin.
What is Porcine Insulin?
Porcine insulin is a purified version of insulin that is isolated from the pancreas of pigs. It falls under the category of animal insulin, which also includes cow insulin. Porcine insulin was the first type of insulin to be administrated to humans to control diabetes. These days, the use of animal insulin-like porcine insulin has largely been replaced by human insulin. However, it is still available on prescription. Since porcine insulin is purified, there are fewer chances for this insulin to develop an immunological reaction in users.
Porcine insulin can be in three different forms: short-acting (hypurin porcine neutral), intermediate-acting (hypurin porcine isophane), and premixed (hypurin porcine 30/70). The short-acting form starts to work from 30 minutes after injecting, with the peak action occurring between 3 to 4 hours after injecting. The intermediate form starts to work 4 to 6 hours after injecting, and it has peak activity between 8 and 14 hours after injecting. There is evidence that human insulin may cause behavioral changes, lethargy, feeling unwell, hypo awareness, which are not recognized when using animal insulin-like porcine insulin. This is an advantage. The disadvantage is in the peak activity time. The peak activity time for short-acting porcine insulin occurs up to 3 to 4 hours after injecting, which can make the timing of meals in relation to injections more difficult than with human insulin or analogue insulin. Furthermore, ethical issues are also a disadvantage when using porcine insulin.
What are the Similarities Between Human Insulin and Porcine Insulin?
- Human insulin and porcine insulin are two forms of insulin hormone
- Both forms are peptides made up of amino acids.
- These forms are used for the treatment of diabetes.
- Both forms are available on prescription.
What is the Difference Between Human Insulin and Porcine Insulin?
Human insulin is a synthetic form of insulin that is created in the laboratory by growing insulin protein within E. coli bacteria, while porcine insulin is a purified form of insulin that is isolated from the pancreas of pigs. So, this is the key difference between human insulin and porcine insulin. Furthermore, recombinant DNA technology is used when manufacturing human insulin, while recombinant DNA technology is not used when manufacturing porcine insulin.
The below infographic presents the differences between human insulin and porcine insulin in tabular form for side by side comparison.
Summary – Human Insulin vs Porcine Insulin
There are different forms of insulin, such as human insulin, analogue insulin, porcine insulin, and cow insulin, which can be used to treat diabetes patients. Human insulin is a synthetic form of insulin created in the laboratory by growing insulin protein within E. coli bacteria, while porcine insulin is a purified form of insulin that is isolated from the pancreas of pigs. Thus, this summarizes the difference between human insulin and porcine insulin.
1. “Human Insulin vs. Insulin Analogs, Pros, Cons, More.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 27 Oct. 2021.
1. “Human insulin 100IU-ml vial yellow background” By Wesalius – Own work (CC BY 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “U-500, Regular (Concentrated) Iletin II, Purified Pork Insulin Injection, about 1982” By National Museum of America (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) via Flickr