Chronic Venous Insufficiency: Transforming Growth Factor-β Isoforms and Soluble Endoglin Concentration in Different States of Wound Healing

Int J Mol Sci. 2017 Oct 21;18(10):2206. doi: 10.3390/ijms18102206.


Venous leg ulcer (VLU) is a huge healthcare problem with poorly understood pathophysiology. Transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) and endoglin (Eng), are inflammatory and wound healing mediators. Eng, co-receptor for TGF-β type-II receptors, may be cleaved forming soluble Eng (sEng), antagonizing TGF-β signaling, a crucial process in vascular pathologies. We evaluated the accumulation in wound fluid (WF) of TGF-β isoforms and sEng in healing stages, showing the effects of sulodexide treatments, a glycosaminoglycan with clinical efficacy in VLU healing. Patients with inflammatory (Infl) and granulating (Gran) VLU were recruited. WFs and THP-1 monocytes exposed to Infl and Gran WF (treated/untreated with sulodexide) were analyzed for TGF-β isoforms and sEng by multiplex immunoassay. In both Infl and Gran WF, TGF-β1 and β2 were similar; TGF-β3 was significantly increased in Infl compared to Gran WFs (p = 0.033). sEng was significantly elevated in Gran compared to Infl WFs (p = 0.002). In THP-1 monocytes there was a significant increase in sEng after co-treatment of WF and sulodexide. The increase in TGF-β3 found in Infl WF highlights its negative effect on wound healing, while the increased levels of sEng in Gran WF affects the leukocyte adhesion/transmigration through the endothelium, reducing the inflammatory response and favoring the wound healing. Glycosaminoglycan sulodexide potentiates the effects of sEng release from monocyte, representing an important therapeutic option for wound healing.

Keywords: chronic venous insufficiency; glycosaminoglycan; inflammation; monocyte; soluble endoglin; sulodexide; transforming growth factor beta isoforms; venous leg ulcer; wound healing.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cell Line
  • Chronic Disease
  • Endoglin / analysis*
  • Female
  • Glycosaminoglycans / pharmacology
  • Glycosaminoglycans / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Protein Isoforms / analysis
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / analysis*
  • Varicose Ulcer / drug therapy*
  • Varicose Ulcer / metabolism
  • Varicose Ulcer / physiopathology
  • Venous Insufficiency / metabolism*
  • Venous Insufficiency / physiopathology
  • Wound Healing / drug effects


  • Endoglin
  • Glycosaminoglycans
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • glucuronyl glucosamine glycan sulfate