Mixed up Macrophages: M1/M2 Dysregulation in Diabetic Foot Ulcers

A great review from Queensland that should help put some of the confusing M1-M2 phenotype story into sharper relief.

Skin Wound Healing: Normal Macrophage Function and Macrophage Dysfunction in Diabetic Wounds

Abstract: Macrophages play a prominent role in wound healing. In the early stages, they promote inflammation and remove pathogens, wound debris, and cells that have apoptosed. Later in the repair process, they dampen inflammation and secrete factors that regulate the proliferation, differentiation, and migration of keratinocytes, fibroblasts, and endothelial cells, leading to neovascularisation and wound closure. The macrophages that coordinate this repair process are complex: they originate from different sources and have distinct phenotypes with diverse functions that act at various times in the repair process. Macrophages in individuals with diabetes are altered, displaying hyperresponsiveness to inflammatory stimulants and increased secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines. They also have a reduced ability to phagocytose pathogens and efferocytose cells that have undergone apoptosis. This leads to a reduced capacity to remove pathogens and, as efferocytosis is a trigger for their phenotypic switch, it reduces the number of M2 reparative macrophages in the wound. This can lead to diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs) forming and contributes to their increased risk of not healing and becoming infected, and potentially, amputation. Understanding macrophage dysregulation in DFUs and how these cells might be altered, along with the associated inflammation, will ultimately allow for better therapies that might complement current treatment and increase DFU’s healing rates.

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  1. If the macrophages are culture able, then there could be wider scope for their use either directly into chronic wounds, or incorporated into dressings.

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