Background: Prolonged wound healing is a complication of diabetes that contributes to mortality. Impaired wound healing occurs as a consequence of excessive reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. Whey protein (WP) is able to reduce the oxygen radicals and increase the levels of the antioxidant glutathione. Thus, the aim of this study was to determine whether dietary supplementation with WP could enhance normal inflammatory responses during wound healing in diabetic rats. Animals were assigned into a wounded control group (WN), a wounded diabetic group (WD) and a wounded diabetic group orally supplemented with whey protein (WDWP) at a dose of 100 mg/kg body weight.
Results: Whey protein was found to significantly decrease the levels of malondialdehyde (MDA), nitric oxide (NO) and ROS. A significant restoration of the glutathione level was observed in WDWP rats. During the early wound healing stage, IL-1β, TNF-α, IL-6, IL-4 and neutrophil infiltration were significantly decreased in WD mice. WP supplementation was found to restore the levels of these inflammatory markers to the levels observed in control animals. In addition, the time required for wound healing was significantly prolonged in diabetic rats. WP was found to significantly decrease the time required for wound healing in WDWP rats.
Conclusion: In conclusion, dietary supplementation with WP enhances the normal inflammatory responses during wound healing in diabetic mice by restoring the levels of oxidative stress and inflammatory cytokines.