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Effects of Pulsatile IV Insulin Delivery on Diabetic Retinopathy in Patients With Types 1 and 2 Diabetes Mellitus

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT00287651
Recruitment Status : Terminated (Administrative)
First Posted : February 7, 2006
Last Update Posted : August 10, 2016
Advanced Diabetes Treatment Centers
Global Infusions
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Florida Atlantic University

Brief Summary:
Diabetic Retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in the world. Previous studies have documented beneficial effects of physiologic administration of pulsatile insulin on a variety of diabetic complications such as nephropathy, hypertension, glycemic control, etc. Similar pathogenetic mechanisms have been postulated for diabetic retinal disease. This study examines the effect of pulsatile insulin on patients with varying stages of diabetic retinal disease.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Diabetes Mellitus, With Complications Procedure: Pulsatile IV Insulin Procedure: Effects of Pulsatile IV Insulin on Diabetic Retinopathy Phase 2 Phase 3

Detailed Description:

Diabetic retinopathy is one of the leading causes of blindness in the world. Signs of retinopathy are detected in almost 100% of type 1 diabetic patients who have had their disease for at least 20 years and almost 100% of type 2 diabetic patients with the similar duration of disease (1). Histopathologic findings range from microaneurysms and cotton wool spots to more ominous neovascularization. The latter process, known as proliferative diabetic retinopathy, can progress to total blindness if untreated. The biochemical mechanisms responsible for PDR have been extensively studied, and appear to be multifactorial. Associated findings include abnormalities of vasoactive peptides such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), pigment epithelium derived factor (PEDF), and insulin-like growth factor (ILF-1), lipids, oxidative pathways, enzymatic pathways, such as protein kinase, and carbohydrate metabolism (1-4). Whether these (and other) factors are interrelated or have a common underlying defect is unknown. The common endpoint, however, is vascular leakage with neovascularization. Current therapeutic regimens based on these biochemical abnormalities have to date been unsuccessful in stemming the progression of proliferative diabetic retinopathy. Current treatment strategies emphasize glycemic and blood pressure control, with laser photocoagulation and vitrectomy for advanced cases (5).

Early retinal disease in diabetic patients may take the form of diabetic macular edema (DME). This is observed in 20% to 25% of both type 1 and type 2 diabetic patients. The pathophysiology of DME involves the leakage of plasma from small vessels in the macula. Resorption of this fluid followed by hard exudate formation can lead to severe impairment of central vision (6).

Anecdotal evidence from ophthalmologic institutions (Houston Eye Institute, Shands at University of Florida, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute) suggests that this treatment arrests the progression of retinal disease in patients with proliferative diabetic retinopathy. The mechanism of this effect is unknown, but may be related to reversal of retinal ischemia or downregulation of vasoactive peptides by restoration of hepatic metabolism.


This study is designed as a prospective, controlled, single blinded evaluation of pulsatile insulin in the role of diabetic retinopathy. The patients entered into the study will be from two distinct sources. First, in conjunction with a national eye imaging company, patients with known type 1 or type 2 diabetes will be evaluated for retinal disease. This evaluation will consist of mydriatic fundus photography in diabetic patients not having had recent ophthalmologic evaluation (period greater than 12 months). The fundus photographs will be read by an observer under the auspices of the Wilmer Ophthalmologic Institute at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Classifications of patients will be evaluated in this study include:

I Patients with non high risk proliferative diabetic retinopathy II Patients with severe non proliferative diabetic retinopathy

Patients who are diagnosed as one of these classifications will be offered entrance into the study. Study patients will be matched for age, sex, and disease severity into a treatment and control group. All study patients will be evaluated in conjunction with an ophthalmologist. This evaluation will include clinical examination and fundus photography. Treatment group patients will undergo weekly pulsatile insulin delivery sessions as per protocol above. Control group patients will have weekly clinic visits to maximize glycemic and hypertensive control. All patients will repeat their fundus photography at three month intervals, with ophthalmologic evaluation as above every six months, or more often if requested by the ophthalmologist.

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 150 participants
Allocation: Non-Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Single (Investigator)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Effects of Pulsatile IV Insulin Delivery on Diabetic Retinopathy
Study Start Date : November 2005
Actual Primary Completion Date : August 2009
Actual Study Completion Date : August 2009

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

Arm Intervention/treatment
Active Comparator: 2
Patients with diagnosed Diabetic Retinopathy are enrolled as treated with pulsatile intravenous insulin or as a control patient with weekly treatment sessions. Baseline and quarterly fundus photography is performed to measure and monitor progress.
Procedure: Pulsatile IV Insulin
Intravenous Insulin is provided in a pulsed manner based upon weekly physician orders the amount of insulin provided is dependent on patients level of insulin resistance.

Procedure: Effects of Pulsatile IV Insulin on Diabetic Retinopathy
Control Patients are not given pulsatile intravenous insulin therapy during the study.

Procedure: Effects of Pulsatile IV Insulin on Diabetic Retinopathy
Intravenous Insulin is provided in a pulsed manner based upon weekly physician orders the amount of insulin provided is dependent on patients level of insulin resistance.
Other Name: Humilin, Humolog, Novolog, Epidra

No Intervention: 1
Patients diagnosed with Diabetic Retinopathy are enrolled as control patients that do not receive the pulsatile intravenous insulin therapy. Control patients come into the center receive baseline fundus photography and quarterly fundus photography to measure progress and outcomes of diabetic retinopathy and are compared to the patients who receive pulsatile intravenous insulin therapy.

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Serial fundus photography [ Time Frame: Stabilization of retinal blood vessel degeneration ]

Information from the National Library of Medicine

Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided below. For general information, Learn About Clinical Studies.

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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • We will include up to 500 patients both male and female over the age of 18 diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes mellitus.
  • All patients must be diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
  • Fundus photographs will be examined by an independent retinal specialist and the patients will be stratified into the three groups as outlined above.
  • Endocrinologist must assess and approve patient for participation in this study
  • Patient must have the ability to swallow without difficulty and ability to commit to the weekly time requirements associated with the study.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Other causes of complications not related to diabetes
  • Lack of intravenous access
  • Pregnancy
  • Alcohol abuse, drug addiction or the use of illegal drugs
  • Positive HIV
  • Inability to breathe into metabolic measurement cart for respiratory quotients

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT00287651

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United States, Florida
Florida Atlantic University Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences
Boca Raton, Florida, United States, 33431
Sponsors and Collaborators
Florida Atlantic University
Advanced Diabetes Treatment Centers
Global Infusions
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Principal Investigator: Betty Tuller, Ph.D Florida Atlantic University
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Responsible Party: Florida Atlantic University Identifier: NCT00287651    
Other Study ID Numbers: H09-06
MH42900 and MH01386
First Posted: February 7, 2006    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: August 10, 2016
Last Verified: August 2016
Keywords provided by Florida Atlantic University:
Pulsatile intravenous insulin
Oral carbohydrate loading
Respiratory Quotients
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Diabetic Retinopathy
Diabetes Mellitus
Glucose Metabolism Disorders
Metabolic Diseases
Endocrine System Diseases
Retinal Diseases
Eye Diseases
Diabetic Angiopathies
Vascular Diseases
Cardiovascular Diseases
Diabetes Complications
Insulin, Globin Zinc
Hypoglycemic Agents
Physiological Effects of Drugs