A discovery made by French researchers could lead to new treatment strategies that accelerate wounding healing in patients with diabetes.
Slow wound healing is a common complication of diabetes. It can be caused by prolonged high blood glucose levels. Over time, this can lead to poor blood circulation, and because blood is needed for skin repair, it is unable to be transported to the correct place.
Researchers at the University of Notre Dame had previously identified two enzymes called matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), MMP-8 and MMP-9, in the wounds of diabetic mice.
They used the MMP-9 inhibitor, referred to as ND-322, to accelerate wound healing in diabetic mice. In this new study, they report the discovery of an improved MMP-9 inhibitor, known as ND-336.
The efficacy of ND-336 was compared to ND-322 in healing wounds of diabetic mice. The wounds treated with ND-336 healed significantly faster than those treated with ND-332 – the researchers reported this was due to better selectivity of ND-336 than ND-322 for inhibition of MMP-9 over MMP-8.
When MMP-8 was applied to the wounds, it accelerated healing, while the combination of ND-336 and MMP-8 enhanced healing even more. This is the strategy Notre Dame researchers believe holds promise for treating wounds in human patients with diabetes.
Lead researcher Mayland Chang said: “The compound ND-336 has potential as a therapeutic to accelerate or facilitate wound healing in diabetic patients. Likewise, the enzyme MMP-8 could be used to accelerate/facilitate diabetic wound repair. The combination of a small molecule (ND-336) and the enzyme MMP-8 has the potential to accelerate further diabetic wound repair.”
Chang’s team are now recruiting human patients with diabetes to assess if MMP-8 and MMP-9 can accelerate wound healing.

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