Polypeptide hormone (see peptide) that regulates blood glucose levels. Secreted by the islets of Langerhans (see Langerhans, islets of) in the pancreas when blood glucose rises, as after a meal, it helps transfer the glucose into the body's cells to be oxidized (see oxidation-reduction) for energy or converted and stored as fatty acids or glycogen. When blood glucose falls, insulin secretion stops and the liver releases more glucose into the blood. Insulin has various related functions in the liver, muscles, and other tissues, controlling the balance of glucose with related compounds. Insulin-related disorders include diabetes mellitus and hypoglycemia. Frederick Banting and J.J.R. Macleod won a Nobel Prize in 1923 for discovering insulin, and Frederick Sanger won one in 1958 for determining its amino acid sequence.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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