The Journal of Investigative Dermatology contains a fascinating animal study evaluating the use of EPO on pressure-induced wounds from Claire Demiot and coworkers. Whether this is secondary to increased sensation (and therefore painful feedback and avoidance) or vasodilatation is unclear, but what is clear is that this is clearly interesting. Enjoy. -DGA
Erythropoietin Restores C-Fiber Function and Prevents Pressure Ulcer Formation in Diabetic Mice
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Pressure-induced vasodilatation (PIV), a cutaneous physiological neurovascular (C-fiber/endothelium) mechanism, is altered in diabetes and could possibly contribute to pressure ulcer development. We wanted to determine whether recombinant human erythropoietin (rhEPO), which has protective neurovascular effects, could prevent PIV alteration and pressure ulcer formation. We developed a skin pressure ulcer model in mice by applying two magnetic plates to the dorsal skin. This induced significant stage 2 ulcers (assessed visually and histologically) in streptozotocin-treated mice with 8 weeks of diabetes compared with very few in controls. Control and streptozotocin mice received either no treatment or systematic rhEPO (3,000 UI kg−1 intraperitoneally, twice a week) during the last 2 weeks of diabetes. After 8 weeks of diabetes, we assessed ulcer development, PIV, endothelium-dependent vasodilation, C-fiber-mediated nociception threshold, and skin innervation density. Pretreatment with rhEPO fully prevented ulcer development in streptozotocin mice and also fully restored C-fiber nociception, skin innervation density, and significantly improved PIV, but had no effect on endothelium-dependent vasodilation. Our finding that rhEPO treatment protects the skin against pressure-induced ulcers in diabetic mice encourages evaluation of the therapeutic potential for non-hematopoietic analogs of EPO in preventing neuropathic diabetic ulcers.