Diabetes Complication Responds to Topical Statin Drug

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2012-11-29 08:49

People with diabetes face the possibility of a number of serious complications, including poor wound healing. Now a new study has found that application of a topical statin drug speeds up wound healing in mice with diabetes.

Could a statin drug help diabetic wound healing?

Diabetes has several characteristics that make recovering from wounds more challenging. For example, people with diabetes have a weakened immune system, which makes healing more problematic. Nerve damage (neuropathy), which is common in diabetes, can make individuals unable to feel the pain associated with a cut or blister until it becomes infected.

Diabetes is also associated with narrow arteries, which makes it more difficult for blood to reach a wound and facilitate healing. Overall, 15 percent of people with diabetes will develop wound problems, and diabetics also have a 15-fold increased risk of amputation, with about 82,000 diabetics undergoing amputation each year. Foot wounds are the most common type of wound complication.

Therefore, the need to effectively improve wound healing among diabetics is critical. A research team composed of scientists from various institutions have now discovered that topical simvastatin may offer some hope for these individuals. Simvastatin is a statin drug typically prescribed to lower cholesterol.

The test was developed to determine if topical simvastatin could promote the growth of new blood vessels (angiogenesis) and the formation of new lymphatic vessels (lymphoangiogenesis) in mice genetically modified to have diabetes. The study was conducted as follows.

A skin wound was created on the backs of mice with diabetes, and each wound was then treated with topical simvastatin mixed with petroleum jelly or a control (petroleum jelly only). Application of the drug or petroleum jelly alone was repeated on days 4, 7, and 10.

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