Many persons with diabetes mellitus have limb ischemia, which is a major clinical problem. A subset of human monocytes that expresses TIE-2 may enhance neovascularization. We performed 179 phlebotomies on 142 patients (or donors), including 61 patients/donors without diabetes or ischemia (controls), 39 diabetic nonischemic patients (controls), and 42 diabetic patients with severe limb ischemia requiring amputation. We compared these groups for the presence of TIE-2-positive proangiogenic monocytes. The proportion of proangiogenic monocytes in the venous blood (on hospital admission) was significantly increased in diabetic patients without ischemia (9.22% ± 1.19%), compared to controls (6.53% ± 0.58%) or ischemic diabetic patients (5.44% ± 0.56%) (P < 0.05). In this pilot evaluation, we succeeded in extracting potential proangiogenic TIE-2 monocytes from the blood of diabetic patients without ischemia, but less in patients with ischemia. The implications for therapeutic neoangiogenesis require further studies.
Keywords: diabetic foot; ischemia; neovascularization; proangiogenic monocytes; transmigration.