Scientists have discovered a new compound that accelerates diabetic wound healing, an advance that may open the door to new treatment strategies for the disorder.
Non-healing chronic wounds are a major complication of diabetes, which result in more than 70,000 lower-limb amputations in the US alone each year, researchers said.
The reasons why diabetic wounds are resistant to healing are not fully understood, and there are limited therapeutic agents that could accelerate or facilitate their repair.
Researchers from the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, US had previously identified two enzymes called matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), MMP-8 and MMP-9, in the wounds of diabetic mice.
In the new study, the researchers reported the discovery of a better MMP-9 inhibitor referred to as ND-336.
“ND-336 is a six-fold more potent inhibitor than ND-322 and has 50-fold selectivity towards inhibition of MMP-9 than MMP-8,” Mayland Chang of Notre Dame’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, who led the study, said.
“We found that wounds treated with ND-336 healed significantly faster than those treated with ND-322 because of the better selectivity of ND-336 than ND-322 for inhibition of MMP-9 over MMP-8,” she added.
The researchers found that a combination of a selective inhibitor of MMP-9 (a small molecule) and applied MMP-8 (an enzyme) enhanced healing even more, in a strategy that holds considerable promise in healing of diabetic wounds.
“The compound ND-336 has potential as a therapeutic to accelerate or facilitate wound healing in diabetic patients,” Ms Chang said.
The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.