Research Paper

Pharmaceutical Research

, Volume 24, Issue 7, pp 1396-1401

Ultrasound Mediated Transdermal Insulin Delivery in Pigs Using a Lightweight Transducer

  • E. J. ParkAffiliated withDepartment of Bioengineering, Pennsylvania State University
  • , Jacob WernerAffiliated withAnimal Resource Program, Pennsylvania State University
  • , Nadine Barrie SmithAffiliated withGraduate Program in Acoustics, Pennsylvania State University Email author 

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In previous studies, ultrasound mediated transdermal drug delivery has shown a promising potential as a method for noninvasive drug administration. For prospective future human application, this study was designed to determine the feasibility of lightweight cymbal transducer array as a practical device for noninvasive transdermal insulin delivery in large pigs.

Materials and Methods

Six Yorkshire pigs (100–140 lbs) were divided into two groups. As the control (n = 3), the first group did not receive any ultrasound exposure with the insulin. The second group (n = 3) was treated with ultrasound and insulin at 20 kHz with an Isptp = 100 mW/cm2 at a 20% duty cycle for 60 min. With the pigs in lateral recumbency after anesthesia, the ultrasound transducer with insulin was placed on the axillary area of the pig. At the beginning and every 15 min up to 90 min, the blood glucose level was determined using a glucose monitoring system. To compare the results of individual animals, the change of blood glucose level was normalized to each animal’s initial glucose value at the start of the experiment.


Although each animal had a different initial glucose level, the mean and standard error for the six animals was 146 ± 13 mg/dl. For the control group, the blood glucose level increased to 31 ± 21 mg/dl compared to the initial baseline over the 90 min experiment. However for the ultrasound with insulin treated group, the glucose level decreased to −72 ± 5 mg/dl at 60 min (p <  0.05) and continued to decrease to −91 ± 23 mg/dl in 90 min (p < 0.05).


The results indicate the feasibility of ultrasound mediated transdermal insulin delivery using the cymbal transducer array in animal with a similar size and weight to a human. Based on these result, the cymbal array has potential as a practical ultrasound system for noninvasive transdermal insulin delivery for diabetes management.

Key words

diabetes drug delivery insulin transducer ultrasound