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Can natural polymers assist in delivering insulin orally?

Nur, Mokhamad, Vasiljevic, Todor
International journal of biological macromolecules 2017 v.103 pp. 889-901
alginates, bioavailability, carrageenan, casein, chitosan, cyclodextrins, dextran, diabetes mellitus, encapsulation, gastrointestinal system, gelatin, insulin, oral administration, pectins, polymers, starch
Diabetes mellitus is one of the most grave and lethal non communicable diseases. Insulin is normally used to medicate diabetes. Due to bioavailability issues, the most regular route of administration is through injection, which may pose compliance problems to treatment. The oral administration thus appears as a suitable alternative, but with several important problems. Low stability of insulin in the gastrointestinal tract and low intestinal permeation are some of the issues. Encapsulation of insulin into polymer-based particles emerges as a plausible strategy. Different encapsulation approaches and polymers have been used in this regard. Polymers with different characteristics from natural or synthetic origin have been assessed to attain this goal, with natural polymers being preferable. Natural polymers studied so far include chitosan, alginate, carrageenan, starch, pectin, casein, tragacanth, dextran, carrageenan, gelatine and cyclodextrin. While some promising knowledge and results have been gained, a polymeric-based particle system to deliver insulin orally has not been introduced onto the market yet. In this review, effectiveness of different natural polymer materials developed so far along with fabrication techniques are evaluated.