The 30-amino-acid chain that connects the A and B chains of insulin in proinsulin; removed in the conversion of proinsulin to insulin. SYN: C chain.

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C-pep·tide 'sē-'pep-.tīd n a protein fragment 35 amino acid residues long produced by enzymatic cleavage of proinsulin in the formation of insulin

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a peptide (so-called because of its C shape) formed when insulin is produced from its precursor molecule, proinsulin. It is secreted in equal molar amounts to insulin. However, as it remains detectable in the plasma much longer than insulin it can be more easily assayed as a marker of the degree of insulin secretion. This can be useful to assess the ability of the pancreas to secrete insulin, for example when trying to determine whether somebody has type 1 or type 2 diabetes or to distinguish an insulin-secreting tumour (an insulinoma) from surreptitious insulin usage in somebody presenting with unexplained hypoglycaemia.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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