Acute inflammation in response to injury is a tightly regulated process by which subsets of leukocytes are recruited to the injured tissue and undergo behavioural changes that are essential for effective tissue repair and regeneration. The diabetic wound environment is characterised by excessive and prolonged inflammation that is linked to poor progression of healing, and, in humans, the development of diabetic foot ulcers. However, the underlying mechanisms contributing to excessive inflammation remain poorly understood. Here we show in a murine model that the diabetic environment induces stable intrinsic changes in haematopoietic cells. These changes lead to a hyper-responsive phenotype to both pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory stimuli, producing extreme M1 and M2 polarised cells. During early wound healing, myeloid cells in diabetic mice show hyper-polarisation towards both M1 and M2 phenotypes, whereas, at late stages of healing, when non-diabetic macrophages have transitioned to an M2 phenotype, diabetic wound macrophages continue to display an M1 phenotype. Intriguingly, we show that this population predominantly consists of Gr-1+ CD11b+ CD14+ cells that have been previously reported as 'inflammatory macrophages' recruited to injured tissue in the early stages of wound healing. Finally, we show that this phenomenon is directly relevant to human diabetic ulcers, for which M2 polarisation predicts healing outcome. Thus, treatments focused at targeting this inflammatory cell subset could prove beneficial for pathological tissue repair.
- Received February 24, 2013.
- Accepted September 12, 2013.
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