Chemokines, cytokines, and growth factors in keratinocytes and dermal endothelial cells in the margin of chronic diabetic foot ulcers

Wound Repair Regen. Sep-Oct 2006;14(5):558-65. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2006.00155.x.


Keratinocytes and dermal endothelial cells, excluding leukocytes that infiltrate wounds, are the main source of soluble factors regulating healing of skin ulcers. We used immunohistochemistry to analyze the expression of various chemotactic and growth factors and their receptors in the margin of diabetic foot ulcers and in normal nondiabetic foot skin. Our study found significantly elevated expression of transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-beta1) and type I TGF-beta receptors (TGFbetaR1), granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), and epidermal growth factor (EGF) in keratinocytes in the ulcer margin (p < 0.05). Significantly increased expression of monocyte chemotactic protein-1, GM-CSF, CXCR1, and TGFbetaRI and decreased expression of interleukin (IL)-10, IL-15, and TGF-beta1 were observed in ulcer dermal endothelial cells (p < 0.05). There was a lack of up-regulation of IL-8, CCR2A, IL-10 receptor, GM-CSF receptor, platelet-derived growth factors and their receptors, vascular endothelial growth factor and its type II receptor, EGF receptor, insulin-like growth factor-1, and nitric oxide synthase-2 in both KCs and endothelial cells in the ulcer. Finally, there was a lack of up-regulation of IL-10 and IL-15 in keratinocytes and of EGF, basic fibroblast growth factor, and nitric oxide synthase-3 in endothelial cells in the ulcer margins. The enhanced expression of some factors responsible for KC behavior could suggest an unimpaired capacity of keratinocytes to reepithelialize the margin of diabetic foot ulcers. However, lack of up-regulation of some angiogenic and leukocyte chemotactic factors, associated with the reduced influx of immune cells, may account for a poor formation of granulation tissue and chronicity of ulcer epithelialization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chemokines / metabolism*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • Dermis / metabolism
  • Dermis / pathology
  • Diabetic Foot / metabolism*
  • Diabetic Foot / pathology
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Keratinocytes / metabolism*
  • Keratinocytes / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monte Carlo Method
  • Photomicrography


  • Chemokines
  • Cytokines