Generating and reversing chronic wounds in diabetic mice by manipulating wound redox parameters

J Diabetes Res. 2014;2014:562625. doi: 10.1155/2014/562625. Epub 2014 Dec 23.


By 2025, more than 500 M people worldwide will suffer from diabetes; 125 M will develop foot ulcer(s) and 20 M will undergo an amputation, creating a major health problem. Understanding how these wounds become chronic will provide insights to reverse chronicity. We hypothesized that oxidative stress (OS) in wounds is a critical component for generation of chronicity. We used the db/db mouse model of impaired healing and inhibited, at time of injury, two major antioxidant enzymes, catalase and glutathione peroxidase, creating high OS in the wounds. This was necessary and sufficient to trigger wounds to become chronic. The wounds initially contained a polymicrobial community that with time selected for specific biofilm-forming bacteria. To reverse chronicity we treated the wounds with the antioxidants α-tocopherol and N-acetylcysteine and found that OS was highly reduced, biofilms had increased sensitivity to antibiotics, and granulation tissue was formed with proper collagen deposition and remodeling. We show for the first time generation of chronic wounds in which biofilm develops spontaneously, illustrating importance of early and continued redox imbalance coupled with the presence of biofilm in development of wound chronicity. This model will help decipher additional mechanisms and potentially better diagnosis of chronicity and treatment of human chronic wounds.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Biofilms / drug effects
  • Biofilms / growth & development
  • Catalase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Catalase / metabolism
  • Chronic Disease
  • Diabetes Complications / etiology*
  • Diabetes Complications / metabolism
  • Diabetes Complications / microbiology
  • Diabetes Complications / pathology
  • Diabetes Complications / prevention & control*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / toxicity*
  • Glutathione Peroxidase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Glutathione Peroxidase / metabolism
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidative Stress*
  • Time Factors
  • Wound Healing* / drug effects
  • Wound Infection / etiology*
  • Wound Infection / metabolism
  • Wound Infection / microbiology
  • Wound Infection / pathology
  • Wound Infection / prevention & control*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Catalase
  • Glutathione Peroxidase