Healing Molecule May Help Treat Diabetes Related Tissue Damage

Researchers are learning more about a molecule in the body that could help treat non-healing injuries or wounds, including diabetic foot.

Diabetic foot is a foot with disease, or damage owed to having diabetes, or a diabetes complication.

The molecule being studied, called deoxyribose-1-phosphate, stimulates the formation of blood vessels, a process that is critical when the body responds to tissue damage. Knowing how deoxyribose-1-phosphate works could lead to new treatment options that facilitate tissue healing.

“We're very excited to provide new insights into how this crucial molecule works to stimulate the formation of blood vessels in people,” said research team leader Dr. Giordano Pula, University of Exeter Medical School. “We now hope to be able to use this knowledge to trigger the formation of new blood vessels in patients where this is required for tissue regeneration, such as diabetic foot.”

The Exeter study showed that deoxyribose-1-phosphate stimulates an enzyme called NADPH oxidase 2 (NOX2). Then, the NOX2 activates NFkB, a transcription factor that turns on genes involved in the creation of new blood vessels.

Among the genes activated for blood vessel formation, a primary role was played by the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2). Since VEGFR2 is an important target in regenerative research, the investigative team is hopeful this study will precipitate a cost-effective way to facilitate blood vessel formation.

The research team's next step is studying deoxyribose-1-phosphate’s ability to promote skin repair by increasing blood vessel formation in wounds and non-healing ulcers. Ultimately, they hope their work will help treat diabetic foot, and reduce the incidence of diabetes-related amputations.

Source: University of Exeter
Photo credit: kuldeep singh

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