Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
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Neurogenic factors in the impaired healing of diabetic foot ulcers.

BACKGROUND: We hypothesize that the reduced innervation of skin can be observed both in clinically neuropathic and non-neuropathic diabetic foot ulcers and can contribute to low inflammatory cell infiltration.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Twenty patients with type 2 diabetes and active foot ulcers, without clinical evidence of peripheral sensory neuropathy (n = 12) and with sensory neuropathy (n = 8) were involved in this study. Biopsies from ulcer margin were examined immunohistochemically.

RESULTS: Studies revealed presence of protein gene product 9.5 (PGP9.5)+ nerve endings only in reticular dermis in 3 of 12 non-neuropathic subjects, however, regenerating GAP-43+ endings were seen in dermis of almost all specimens. Lack of substance P+ nerve endings was characteristic for both groups. The reduced distribution of calcitonin gene-related peptide+ nerves in epidermis and dermis was seen mainly in neuropathic group. In neo-epidermis lack of nerve growth factor expression was observed in both groups, whereas neurotrophin 3 immunostaining was characteristic for neuropathic specimens (P < 0.03). Expression of trkA and trkC receptors did not differ significantly between groups. Low inflammatory cell infiltration and moderate presence of fibroblasts was characteristic for all studied specimens.

CONCLUSIONS: The observed reduction of foot skin innervation and neurogenic factors expression can be correlated with low inflammatory cell accumulation and subsequently leads to the observed chronicity of diabetic foot ulcer healing process in both neuropathic and non-neuropathic patients.

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