A case of insulin allergy: the crystalline human insulin may mask its antigenicity

Hiroshi Takatsuki, Hidehiro Ishii, Teruaki Yamauchi, Naoki Nakashima, Shouji Nagase, Akitaka Hisatomi, Fumio Umeda, Hajime Nawata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


We report an unusual case of insulin allergy. A 48-year-old man with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus receiving biosynthetic isophane human insulin (Humulin N) developed itchy wheal-and-flare reactions at the sites of injection. When Humulin N was changed to a semi-synthetic crystalline human insulin zine (Novolin U), the allergic reactions completely disappeared. Evaluation of his serum showed a high level of insulin-specific IgE. Skin testing with all commercially available insulins showed immediate local reactions to all agents tested except for Novolin U. In addition, decrystallized Novolin U prepared by lowering the pH with acetic acid also induced a positive reaction. These observations suggest that the crystallized structure of human insulin may mask its antigenicity for allergic reactions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-139
Number of pages3
JournalDiabetes Research and Clinical Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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