Enzyme discovery could lead to new diabetic foot treatment

Jack Woodfield
Wed, 24 Jul 2019
Enzyme discovery could lead to new diabetic foot treatment
A discovery involving an enzyme could help experts develop future treatments for diabetes-related foot wounds.

Using mice models with type 2 diabetes, researchers identified a vital compound called Setdb2 which when, missing in people with diabetes, might explain why wounds do not heal as quickly.

Dr Katherine Gallagher, vascular surgeon and an Associate Professor in Michigan Medicine's Departments of Surgery and Microbiology/Immunology, led the study which aimed to shed light on the natural healing process.

Her team identified that Setdb2 is a crucial enzyme that helps repair inflammatory wounds. However in mice with type 2 diabetes it did not increase when it should have done, leaving the wound inflamed.

Through their work, they also discovered Setdb2 is important in the metabolism of uric acid which can be higher among people who have diabetes.

High levels of uric acid can lead to gout, which can lead to further health problems. The research found during the normal healing process, Setdb2 turns off an enzyme that produces uric acid.

So they wanted to explore whether blocking uric acid could help wound healing. They did this by introducing a common drug called allopurinol which is used to treat gout and kidney stones.

"The drug seemed to improve healing," said Gallagher. "Our data looks very promising for using this as a local therapy."

Applying allopurinol directly to the wounds, Gallagher added, could help avoid some of the side effects associated with the drug.

Discussing the next steps, Gallagher and her team hope to test their findings in clinical trials and explore ways of increasing Setdb2 for cell-based therapy.

The findings have been published in the Immunity journal.
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