Cellular reprogramming of diabetic foot ulcer fibroblasts triggers pro-healing miRNA-mediated epigenetic signature

Irena Pastar, Jelena Marjanovic, Liang Liang, Rivka C. Stone, Olga Kashpur, Ivan Jozic, Cheyanne R. Head, Avi Smith, Behzad Gerami-Naini, Jonathan A. Garlick, Marjana Tomic-Canic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs), a prevalent complication of diabetes, constitute a major medical challenge with a critical need for development of cell-based therapies. We previously generated induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from dermal fibroblasts derived from the DFU patients, location-matched skin of diabetic patients and normal healthy donors and re-differentiated them into fibroblasts. To assess the epigenetic microRNA (miR) regulated changes triggered by cellular reprogramming, we performed miRs expression profiling. We found let-7c, miR-26b-5p, −29c-3p, −148a-3p, −196a-5p, −199b-5p and −374a-5p suppressed in iPSC-derived fibroblasts in vitro and in 3D dermis-like self-assembly tissue, whereas their corresponding targets involved in cellular migration were upregulated. Moreover, targets involved in organization of extracellular matrix were induced after fibroblast reprogramming. PLAT gene, the crucial fibrinolysis factor, was upregulated in iPSC-derived fibroblasts and was confirmed as a direct target of miR-196a-5p. miR-197-3p and miR-331-3p were found upregulated specifically in iPSC-derived diabetic fibroblasts, while their targets CAV1 and CDKN3 were suppressed. CAV1, an important negative regulator of wound healing, was confirmed as a direct miR-197-3p target. Together, our findings demonstrate that iPSC reprogramming is an effective approach for erasing the diabetic non-healing miR-mediated epigenetic signature and promoting a pro-healing cellular phenotype.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1065-1072
Number of pages8
JournalExperimental dermatology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • diabetic foot ulcer
  • fibroblasts
  • iPSC
  • microRNA
  • reprogramming
  • skin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology


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