DMRR special issue: Disturbed hypoxic response and the pathogenic mechanism of diabetic foot ulcers

Research on diabetic foot ulcers can be rather clinically oriented

Luckily, there are also many ‘basic science’ brains that attach themselves more to microscopes than patients interested in foot ulcers. Catrina and Zheng, from the prestigious Karolinska Institut in Sweden, discuss the evidence of pathogenic mechanisms at the cell level that are involved in the delayed healing of diabetic foot ulcers. Insight in the pathogenesis is needed to develop new or more efficient therapeutic approaches.

Hypoxia is the state of reduced oxygen levels resulting from a decrease in oxygen supply or an increase in oxygen consumption. Wound areas, especially in people with diabetes, are increasingly hypoxic, and this hypoxia plays an important role in the development of complications.

Catrina and Zheng discuss in detail the importance of Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1 (HIF-1), and the evidence from animal models of the role it plays in ulcer healing. Understanding of the molecular mechanisms by which HIF-1 operates can, in their opinion, be used to elucidate new therapeutic approaches. Further investigations are required to advance the understanding of the mechanisms involved in HIF-1 regulation, Catrina and Zheng have written an article that may serve as a great start towards this goal.