The connecting peptide, or C-peptide, is a short 31-amino-acid polypeptide that connects insulin's A-chain to its B-chain in the proinsulin molecule. In diabetes and other diseases a measurement of C-peptide blood serum levels can be used to distinguish between certain diseases with similar clinical features.
In the insulin synthesis pathway, first preproinsulin is translocated into the endoplasmic reticulum of beta cells of the pancreas with an A-chain, a C-peptide, a B-chain, and a signal sequence. The signal sequence is cleaved from the N-terminus of the peptide by a signal peptidase, leaving proinsulin. After proinsulin is packaged into vesicles in the Golgi apparatus (beta-granules), the C-peptide is removed, leaving the A-chain B-chain, bound together by disulfide bonds, that constitute the insulin molecule.
Insulin is a peptide hormone produced by beta cells of the pancreatic islets. It regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and protein by promoting the absorption of, especially, glucose from the blood into fat, liver and skeletal muscle cells. In these tissues the absorbed glucose is converted into either glycogen via glycogenesis or fats (triglycerides) via lipogenesis, or, in the case of the liver, into both. Glucose production (and excretion into the blood) by the liver is strongly inhibited by high concentrations of insulin in the blood. Circulating insulin also affects the synthesis of proteins in a wide variety of tissues. It is therefore an anabolic hormone, promoting the conversion of small molecules in the blood into large molecules inside the cells. Low insulin levels in the blood have the opposite effect by promoting widespread catabolism.
The panel conveniently combines C-peptide + Insulin for measurement of two important markers in one kit.