Diabetic Foot Ulcers (DFUs) are major complications associated with diabetes and often correlate with peripheral neuropathy, trauma and peripheral vascular disease. It is necessary to understand the molecular and genetic basis of diabetic foot ulcers in order to tailor patient centred care towards particular patient groups. This review aimed to evaluate whether current literature was indicative of an underlying molecular and genetic basis for DFUs and to discuss clinical applications. From a molecular perspective, wound healing is a process that transpires following breach of the skin barrier and is usually mediated by growth factors and cytokines released by specialised cells activated by the immune response, including fibroblasts, endothelial cells, phagocytes, platelets and keratinocytes. Growth factors and cytokines are fundamental in the organisation of the molecular processes involved in making cutaneous wound healing possible. There is a significant role for single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) in the fluctuation of these growth factors and cytokines in DFUs. Furthermore, recent evidence suggests a key role for epigenetic mechanisms such as DNA methylation from long standing hyperglycemia and non-coding RNAs in the complex interplay between genes and the environment. Genetic factors and ethnicity can also play a significant role in the development of diabetic neuropathy leading to DFUs. Clinically, interventions which have improved outcomes for people with DFUs or those at risk of DFUs include some systemic therapeutic drug interventions which improve microvascular blood flow, surgical interventions, human growth factors, and hyperbaric oxygen therapy, negative pressure wound therapy, skin replacement or shockwave therapy and the use of topical treatments. Future treatment modalities including stem cell and gene therapies are promising in the therapeutic approach to prevent the progression of chronic diabetic complications.
Jhamb, Vangaveti, Malabu, , , , , , (2016). Genetic and molecular basis of diabetic foot ulcers: Clinical review. Journal of tissue viability, 2016 Nov;25(4):229-236. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27372176