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Diabetes Technol Ther. 2009 Jun;11(6):329-37. doi: 10.1089/dia.2008.0103.

Minimally invasive insulin delivery in subjects with type 1 diabetes using hollow microneedles.

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School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia 30332-0100, USA.

Erratum in

  • Diabetes Technol Ther. 2009 Jul;11(7):471.



Microneedles have previously been used to deliver insulin to animal models, but not in human subjects. This study tested the hypothesis that hollow microneedles can deliver insulin to modulate blood glucose levels in subjects with type 1 diabetes in a minimally invasive manner.


This study was carried out in two adults with type 1 diabetes and evaluated bolus delivery of lispro insulin using a hollow microneedle compared to a catheter infusion set (9 mm). The study first determined the minimum insulin delivery depth by administering insulin from microneedles inserted 1, 3.5, and 5 mm into the skin of fasting subjects and then assessed the efficacy of insulin delivery from microneedles inserted 1 mm into the skin to reduce postprandial glucose levels. Blood samples were periodically assayed for plasma free insulin and plasma glucose levels for up to 3.5 h.


The first phase of the study indicated that microneedles inserted at the shallowest depth of 1 mm within the skin led to rapid insulin absorption and reduction in glucose levels. Bolus insulin delivery followed by consumption of a standardized meal in the second phase revealed that microneedles were effective in reducing postprandial glucose levels. Subjects reported no pain from microneedle treatments, and there were no adverse events.


This study provides the first proof of concept that hollow microneedles can effectively deliver bolus insulin to type 1 diabetes subjects in a minimally invasive manner.

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