Molecule found to prevent wound healing

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Researchers have identified a molecule that may explain why wound healing is impaired in people with diabetes. The University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine investigators also offer a possible new target for therapies that could improve healing.

Roughly 15% of diabetics suffer from a non-healing wound in their lifetime, and in some cases, these open ulcers lead to amputation. 

Led by Dana Graves, D.D.S., DMSc., professor in Penn Dental Medicine's Department of Periodontics, the study builds off previous research showing that the Foxo1 molecule promotes healing by both protecting cells against oxidative stress and inducing a molecule called TGF-ß1. In the latest study, researchers examined whether these mechanisms are also implicated in the reduced capacity for wound healing among people with diabetes. 

“In terms of a wound-healing response, it looks like Foxo1 might be one of the central regulators that are affected by the diabetic condition,” said Graves. “This may make it a good drug target, which could possibly be administered locally to minimize systemic effects in diabetic wounds.”

The study appears in the journal Diabetes