Sustained expression of Hif-1alpha in the diabetic environment promotes angiogenesis and cutaneous wound repair

Wound Repair Regen. 2007 Sep-Oct;15(5):636-45. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-475X.2007.00278.x.


Impaired wound healing in diabetic patients is associated with deficiencies in the production of factors involved in cell proliferation and migration, such as vascular endothelial growth factor. However, it remains unclear how the transcriptional regulation of the genes encoding these factors is affected by the diabetic environment. Hypoxia-inducible factor-1alpha (Hif-1alpha), the regulatory subunit of the Hif-1 transcription factor, plays an important role in activating many of these genes. Therefore, we tested whether Hif-1alpha function is impaired in the diabetic wound environment and whether restoring Hif-1 function improves wound healing. Here, we show that Hif-1alpha protein levels are dramatically reduced in wounds of leptin receptor-deficient diabetic mice compared with nondiabetic littermates. Reduction in Hif-1alpha levels results in decreased DNA-binding activity and in decreased expression of several Hif-1 target genes, including vascular endothelial growth factor, heme oxygenase-1, and inducible nitric oxide synthase. Furthermore, we demonstrate that sustained expression of Hif-1alpha in leptin receptor-deficient diabetic wounds restores expression of these factors, enhances angiogenesis, and significantly accelerates wound healing. Taken together, these results suggest that Hif-1alpha function plays a significant role in wound healing and reduced levels of Hif-1alpha may contribute to impaired healing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Diabetes Mellitus / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / physiopathology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Heme Oxygenase-1 / metabolism
  • Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit / metabolism*
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic / physiology*
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II / metabolism
  • Receptors, Leptin / deficiency
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Transcription, Genetic / physiology
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / metabolism
  • Wound Healing / physiology*


  • Hif1a protein, mouse
  • Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Receptors, Leptin
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • leptin receptor, mouse
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II
  • Nos2 protein, mouse
  • Heme Oxygenase-1
  • Hmox1 protein, mouse