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Biotecnología Aplicada

On-line version ISSN 1027-2852


BERLANGA-ACOSTA, Jorge et al. Cellular and molecular insights into the wound healing mechanism in diabetes. Biotecnol Apl [online]. 2010, vol.27, n.4, pp.255-261. ISSN 1027-2852.

Impaired healing in diabetes affects the resolution of both acute and chronic wounds. The vicious circle between wound chronicity and a deficient control of local infection is the cause that diabetic patients constitute 85% of all non-traumatic lower extremity amputations. From an etiological viewpoint, hyperglycemia is what triggers the onset and progression of biochemical disturbances that lead to systemic complications. In contrast to normal wound healing, physiological apoptotic clearance of inflammatory cells is prevented and the inflammatory phase is abnormally prolonged in diabetic wounds. Pro-inflammatory cytokines as tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-a) and interleukin-1b (IL-1b) are increased in diabetic wounds with negative local and remote consequences. The etiopathogenic network consisting of inflammatory cytokines, local proteases, reactive oxygen and nitrogen species produces a cytotoxic and pro-degradation environment within the wound bed that impairs granulation and re-epithelialization. The nonenzymatic glycation of proteins, generating advanced glycation end-products (AGE), acts as an active pathogenic stream affecting healing. The accumulation of AGE interferes with DNA replication, cell anchoring, migration and proliferation. The binding of AGE to a receptor model (RAGE) may completely hamper the healing process. Diabetes impairs the recruitment and differentiation of bone marrow-derived stem cells, thereby limiting the availability of tissue repair cells. Re-epithelialization is also hindered by incomplete activation and/or differentiation of keratinocytes that impair migration. Novel and revolutionary pharmacological interventions are urgently needed to reduce diabetes complications, such as amputations of the lower extremities.

Keywords : diabetes; ulcer; amputation; granulation; re-epithelialization.

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