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Keywords:

  • CSII;
  • diabetes complications;
  • glycaemic control;
  • insulin intensive management;
  • insulin pump therapy;
  • type 1 diabetes

Since the discovery of insulin, great progress has been made to improve the accuracy and safety of automated insulin delivery systems to help patients with type 1 diabetes achieve their treatment goals without causing hypoglycaemia. In recent years, bioengineering technology has greatly advanced diabetes management, with the development of blood glucose meters, continuous glucose monitors, insulin pumps and control systems for automatic delivery of one or more hormones. New insulin analogues have improved subcutaneous absorption characteristics, but do not completely eliminate the risk of hypoglycaemia. Insulin effect is counteracted by glucagon in non-diabetic individuals, while glucagon secretion in those with type 1 diabetes is impaired. The use of glucagon in the artificial pancreas is therefore a logical and feasible option for preventing and treating hypoglycaemia. However, commercially available glucagon is not stable in aqueous solution for long periods, forming potentially cytotoxic fibrils that aggregate quickly. Therefore, a more stable formulation of glucagon is needed for long-term use and storage in a bi-hormonal pump. In addition, a model of glucagon action in type 1 diabetes is lacking, further limiting the inclusion of glucagon into systems employing model-assisted control. As a result, although several investigators have been working to help develop bi-hormonal systems for patients with type 1 diabetes, most continue to utilize single hormone systems employing only insulin. This article seeks to focus on the attributes of glucagon and its use in bi-hormonal systems.