Impaired wound healing and ulceration caused by diabetes mellitus, is a significant healthcare burden, markedly impairs quality of life for patients, and is the major cause of amputation worldwide. Current experimental approaches used to investigate the complex wound healing process often involve cultures of fibroblasts and/or keratinocytes in vitro, which can be limited in terms of complexity and capacity, or utilisation of rodent models in which the mechanisms of wound repair differ substantively from that in humans. However, advances in tissue engineering, and the discovery of strategies to reprogramme adult somatic cells to pluripotency, has led to the possibility of developing models of human skin on a large scale. Generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from tissues donated by diabetic patients allows the (epi)genetic background of this disease to be studied, and the ability to differentiate iPSCs to multiple cell types found within the skin may facilitate the development of more complex skin models; these advances offer key opportunities for improving modelling of wound healing in diabetes, and the development of effective therapeutics for treatment of chronic wounds.
- stem cells
- wound healing
- induced pluripotent stem cells
- type 2 diabetes