Healing molecule discovery could reduce limb amputations for diabetes patients

October 4, 2017, University of Exeter

Scientists have discovered new insights into a molecule which is part of the body's tissue repair system, in a finding which could help treat non-healing wounds and injuries, such as diabetic foot.

The number of limbs amputated because of diabetes is at an all-time high of 20 each day in England alone. Intense research around the world is being carried out to discover new treatments that could help avoid such life-changing operations and reduce medical costs for society.

A study led by the universities of Exeter and Bath, and published in the journal Antioxidants and Redox Signalling has made great strides in understanding how the molecule deoxyribose-1-phosphate stimulates the formation of new vessels.

It has long been known that the formation of new blood vessels is critical during the body's response to tissue damage. Now, thanks to this project jointly funded by Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Medical Research Council, the understanding of how deoxyribose-1-phosphate works could open new avenues of treatment in encouraging the body to heal- a discipline known as .

Dr Giordano Pula, of the University of Exeter Medical School, led the team. He said: "We're very excited to provide new insights into how this crucial molecule works to stimulate the formation of blood vessels in people. We now hope to be able to use this knowledge to trigger the formation of new blood vessels in patients where this is required for tissue regeneration, such as diabetic foot."

This study demonstrates that deoxyribose-1-phosphate activates an enzyme called NADPH oxidase 2 (NOX2). This in turn leads to the stimulation of the transcription factor called NFkB, which is responsible for turning on genes specifically involved in the formation of new blood vessels.

Among the genes activated in the chain of events leading to , the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2) play a central role. This is a key target in regenerative medicine, and the team hope that this discovery will provide a cost-effective treatment for manipulating blood vessel formation.

Dr Pula's team is now planning to focus their investigation on the ability of deoxyribose-1-phosphate to stimulate skin repair by increasing the vascularisation of wounds and non-healing ulcers. The team hopes this work will lead to new applications for treating conditions such as diabetic foot.

The paper, Direct activation of NADPH oxidase 2 by 2-deoxyribose-1-phosphate triggers nuclear factor kappa B-dependent angiogenesis, is now published in the journal Antioxidants and Redox Signalling.

Explore further: How blood vessels are formed

More information: Dina Vara et al. Direct activation of NADPH oxidase 2 by 2-deoxyribose-1-phosphate triggers nuclear factor kappa B-dependent angiogenesis, Antioxidants & Redox Signaling (2017). DOI: 10.1089/ars.2016.6869

Related Stories

How blood vessels are formed

September 15, 2017
Researchers at Heidelberg University have discovered a crucial biological step that regulates the formation of blood vessels. They were able to show that the proteins YAP and TAZ play an important role in this process. The ...

How blood vessels slow down and accelerate tumor growth

July 18, 2017
Cancer cells have an enormous need for oxygen and nutrients. Therefore, growing tumors rely on the simultaneous growth of capillaries, the fine branching blood vessels that form their supply network. The formation of new ...

Blood vessel research offers insights into new treatments for eye diseases

May 27, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—Leukaemia drugs could help to improve treatments for blindness caused by abnormal blood vessel growth in the eye, finds new UCL research. The study, published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, raises ...

Recommended for you

Belly fat promotes diabetes under orders from liver

March 21, 2018
The fat that builds up deep in the abdomen—more than any other type of body fat—raises the risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Researchers have known that abdominal fat becomes dangerous when it becomes inflamed ...

Consuming low-calorie sweeteners may predispose overweight individuals to diabetes

March 18, 2018
Consumption of low-calorie sweeteners could promote metabolic syndrome and predispose people to prediabetes and diabetes, particularly in individuals with obesity, a new study on human fat-derived stem cells and fat samples ...

Are high blood glucose levels an effect rather than the cause of diabetes?

March 15, 2018
Insulin resistance and elevated blood glucose levels are considered to be the cause of type 2 diabetes. However, scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and Heidelberg University Hospital have now provided ...

Smoking linked with higher risk of type 2 diabetes

March 15, 2018
The prevalence of diabetes has increased almost 10-fold in China since the early 1980s, with one in 10 adults in China now affected by diabetes. Although adiposity is the major modifiable risk factor for diabetes, other research ...

Social support and machine learning are at the core of a student-developed app for people with diabetes

March 14, 2018
Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S., and nearly 10 percent of the population suffers from this chronic disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Toxic proteins and type 2 diabetes

March 9, 2018
Nearly a half-billion people worldwide live with type 2 diabetes. Yet despite the disease's sizeable and increasing impact, its precise causes remain murky. Current scientific thinking points to two key processes: insulin ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.