An indolent non-healing wound and insulin and/or insulin-like growth factor (IGF1) resistance are cardinal features of diabetes, inflammation and hypercortisolemia. Little is known about why these phenomena occur in so many contexts. Do the various triggers that induce insulin and/or IGF1 resistance and retard wound healing act through a common mechanism? Cultured dermal fibroblasts from rats and full-thickness excisional wounds were used as models to test the premise that reactive oxygen species (ROS) play a causal role in the development of IGF1 resistance and impaired wound healing under different but pathophysiologically relevant clinical settings, including diabetes, dexamethasone-induced hypercortisolemia and TNFα-induced inflammation. In normal fibroblasts, IGF1 initiated a strong degree of phosphorylation of insulin receptor substrate 1 (IRS1) (Tyr612) and Akt (Ser473), concomitantly with increased PI3K activity. This phenomenon seemed to be attenuated in fibroblasts that had phenotypic features of diabetes, inflammation or hypercortisolemia. Notably, these cells also exhibited an increase in the activity of the ROS−phospho-JNK (p-JNK)−p-IRS1 (Ser307) axis. The above-mentioned defects were reflected functionally by attenuation in IGF1-dependent stimulation of key fibroblast functions, including collagen synthesis and cell proliferation, migration and contraction. The effects of IGF1 on glucose disposal and cutaneous wound healing were also impaired in diabetic or hypercortisolemic rats. The ROS suppressors EUK-134 and α-lipoic acid, or small interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated silencing of JNK expression, restored IGF1 sensitivity both in vitro and in vivo, and also ameliorated the impairment in IGF1-mediated wound responses during diabetes, inflammation and hypercortisolemia. Our data advance the notion that ROS constitute a convergence nexus for the development of IGF1 resistance and impaired wound healing under different but pathophysiologically relevant clinical settings, with a proof of concept for the beneficial effect of ROS suppressors.
- Received March 11, 2011.
- Accepted December 27, 2011.
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