A new study by Yale University has given renewed hope to diabetic patients with slow-healing wounds.
The researchers found out about a certain protein for maintaining wounds and said that if its effects could be reversed then it could help in healing wounds in diabetes patients.
“We discovered that a specific protein, thrombospondin-2 (TSP2), is elevated in wounds of patients with diabetes as well as in animal models of diabetes,” said Britta Kunkemoeller, one of the researchers.
“To determine whether TSP2 contributes to delayed wound healing, we genetically removed TSP2 from a mouse model of diabetes and observed improved wound healing. Our study shows that TSP2 could be a target for a specific therapy for diabetic wounds,” she said.
Most of the work done before on diabetes wound healing had focussed on the kinds of cells which are involved in the healing of wounds such as immune cells, skin cells and the cells which form blood vessels. Compared to that, Kunkemoeller’s research focuses on TSP2, a component of the extracellular matrix.
Along with giving structural support, the extracellular matrix helps in regulating processes which are imperative for wound healing, including the behaviour of immune, skin and vessel-forming cells.
Currently, it is the standard wound care protocol which is observed, like moist bandages, removing damaged tissue and footwear which aids in reducing pressure on the wound. However, in spite of these measures, the wounds still remain at times. In extreme cases, it becomes imperative to amputate the affected foot or lower leg.
“Our focus on TSP2 therefore allowed us to study a single molecule that influences several wound-healing related processes,” said Kunkemoeller.
The research shall be presented at the American Society for Investigative Pathology yearly meeting during the 2018 Experimental Biology meet.