Diabetes is a common disease affecting millions of people worldwide. It is characterized by increased glucose concentrations in the blood and body. Chronic foot ulcers are one of the most serious complications in diabetes, affecting up to 10% of diabetic patients. Treatment of these ulcers remains difficult, resulting in high costs for healthcare systems as well as increased mortality in patients. This study from Germany aimed to characterize the effects of high glucose on epidermal keratinocytes, the cells of the outermost layer of the skin and a key cell type for wound healing. Furthermore, it examined if a small molecule, called KdPT, can protect keratinocytes from glucose-induced stress and toxicity. The authors investigated various functions of keratinocytes under high-glucose conditions with or without KdPT in cell culture models as well as in skin biopsies from healthy subjects. High glucose reduced cell proliferation and viability (meaning it caused a decrease in the number of cells, and a decrease in the number of healthy cells), and migration (cellular movement) of keratinocytes. It also altered the cell size and elasticity. Parallel to these changes, increased amounts of reactive oxygen species, which are toxic to cells, as well as intracellular stress were observed. However, KdPT reduced some of these negative effects of high glucose. The authors' findings highlight a novel effect of KdPT, which could be used to develop new treatments for diabetic skin ulcers.
ASJC Scopus subject areas