Detecting the Early Onset of Shear-Induced Fibril Formation of Insulin in situ

Grant T. Webster, Jonathan Dusting, Stavroula Balabani, Ewan W. Blanch

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    16 Citations (Scopus)


    A new approach is presented for detecting the early onset of amyloid fibril formation of insulin in a fluidic environment. The fibrillogenesis of insulin in a well-characterized Taylor-Couette flow cell was analyzed in situ using Raman spectroscopy in combination with principal components analysis (PCA). Raman spectra recorded using a 532.5 nm excitation laser revealed a more rapid fibrillogenesis process during the first 90 min of shearing than previously reported for samples exposed to flow. Bands corresponding to intermolecular H-bonded beta-sheet structure of insulin at 1678, 1630, and 1625 cm(-1) observed in the Raman difference spectra between unsheared insulin and sheared insulin show an increase in intensity as a function of shear exposure time, which is characteristic of fibril formation, with the first changes detected after 10 min. Additional analysis of samples removed from the flow cell after specific time periods provided conformation of the flow-enhanced fibrillogenesis process, including the detection of early fibril formation after only 1 min of shearing. FT-IR spectra of the insulin solutions showed evolution of bands at 1673 and 1633 cm(-1) from an increase in H-bonded beta-turn and beta-sheet structures, respectively, while fluorescence emission spectra detected the presence of a new emission band at 482 nm. TEM images confirmed the early onset of fibril formation at 1 min shear exposure, before a maturation and concentration increase of fibrils with further shearing. This study highlights the ability of fluid flow; to accelerate insulin fibril formation, which has important implications for biotechnology applications such as the purification process of insulin therapeutic drugs in the pharmaceutical industry, as well as the use of optical-based methods for detecting fibrillogenesis.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2617 - 2626
    Number of pages10
    Issue number11
    Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2011


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