Nonhealing diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs) are characterized by low-grade chronic inflammation, both locally and systemically. We prospectively followed a group of patients who either healed or developed nonhealing chronic DFUs. Serum and forearm skin analysis, both at the protein expression and the transcriptomic level, indicated that increased expression of factors such as interferon-γ (IFN-γ), vascular endothelial growth factor, and soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 were associated with DFU healing. Furthermore, foot skin single-cell RNA sequencing analysis showed multiple fibroblast cell clusters and increased inflammation in the dorsal skin of patients with diabetes mellitus (DM) and DFU specimens compared with control subjects. In addition, in myeloid cell DM and DFU upstream regulator analysis, we observed inhibition of interleukin-13 and IFN-γ and dysregulation of biological processes that included cell movement of monocytes, migration of dendritic cells, and chemotaxis of antigen-presenting cells pointing to an impaired migratory profile of immune cells in DM skin. The SLCO2A1 and CYP1A1 genes, which were upregulated at the forearm of nonhealers, were mainly expressed by the vascular endothelial cell cluster almost exclusively in DFU, indicating a potential important role in wound healing. These results from integrated protein and transcriptome analyses identified individual genes and pathways that can potentially be targeted for enhancing DFU healing.
- Received February 24, 2020.
- Accepted July 29, 2020.
- © 2020 by the American Diabetes Association