Introduction: Chronic inflammation and impaired neovascularization play critical roles in delayed wound healing in diabetic patients. To overcome the limitations of current diabetic wound (DBW) management interventions, we investigated the effects of a catechol-functionalized hyaluronic acid (HA-CA) patch combined with adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (ADSCs) in DBW mouse models. Methods: Diabetes in mice (C57BL/6, male) was induced by streptozotocin (50 mg/kg, >250 mg/dL). Mice were divided into four groups: control (DBW) group, ADSCs group, HACA group, and HA-CA + ADSCs group (n = 10 per group). Fluorescently labeled ADSCs (5 × 105 cells/100 µL) were transplanted into healthy tissues at the wound boundary or deposited at the HACA patch at the wound site. The wound area was visually examined. Collagen content, granulation tissue thickness and vascularity, cell apoptosis, and re-epithelialization were assessed. Angiogenesis was evaluated by immunohistochemistry, quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction, and Western blot. Results: DBW size was significantly smaller in the HA-CA + ADSCs group (8% ± 2%) compared with the control (16% ± 5%, p < 0.01) and ADSCs (24% ± 17%, p < 0.05) groups. In mice treated with HA-CA + ADSCs, the epidermis was regenerated, and skin thickness was restored. CD31 and von Willebrand factor-positive vessels were detected in mice treated with HA-CA + ADSCs. The mRNA and protein levels of VEGF, IGF-1, FGF-2, ANG-1, PIK, and AKT in the HA-CA + ADSCs group were the highest among all groups, although the Spred1 and ERK expression levels remained unchanged. Conclusions: The combination of HA-CA and ADSCs provided synergistic wound healing effects by maximizing paracrine signaling and angiogenesis via the PI3K/AKT pathway. Therefore, ADSC-loaded HA-CA might represent a novel strategy for the treatment of DBW.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by a National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant from the Government of Korea (NRF-2018R1C1B6005116) and a Seoul National University Bundang Hospital grant (No. 14-2017-019).
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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Computer Science Applications
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry