Application note

Detecting insulin oligomerization using microfluidic diffusional sizing

Insulin is a peptide hormone that plays an integral role in the regulation of protein, carbohydrate and fat metabolism by promoting absorption of glucose from the blood.  


Changes in the pH of an insulin solution can trigger changes in oligomeric state as can various additives such as Zn2+.

Microfluidic Diffusional Sizing (MDS) was used to directly detect the oligomeric state of insulin in solution by measuring the average hydrodynamic radius of an insulin solution.

  • Monomers and hexamers can be readily distinguished, and intermediate sized mixtures of monomer, dimer and hexamer identified. Furthermore insulin aggregation can also be detected when the average hydrodynamic radius exceeds the size of hexameric insulin.
  • MDS on the Fluidity One allows the oligomerization state of human insulin to be detected under differing buffer conditions. This is achieved in a rapid test (8 minutes) with very low sample consumption (5 µL). Furthermore the instrument interface does not offer multiple adjustable test parameters, so results are readily and easily comparable.


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