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Biomed Pharmacother. 2004 Dec;58(10):588-97.

Healing of diabetic foot ulcers in L-arginine-treated patients.

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Department of Pathological Anatomy, Hospital General de Zona # 47, IMSS, Mexico City, Mexico.


Experimentally, we demonstrated the beneficial effects of L-arginine on regulation of hyperglycemia and dyslipidemia in experimental diabetes, in addition to a positive anti-aggregating effect in platelets in animals and humans. Here, the effect of L-arginine on foot ulcers from diabetic patients was studied. Three groups of diabetic patients were included: 11 patients without ulcer received neither treatment and served as controls. Eleven patients with diabetic ulcer received the standard treatment, this group served as diabetic control with diabetic ulcer. Eleven remain patients with diabetic ulcer received 10 mM L-arginine subcutaneously on the site of the wound. Biopsy with punch number 5 on wound site comprising both ulcerative and contiguous undamaged skin were performed in all patients with ulcerative lesions before any treatment. Patients with intact skin had biopsy performed with punch number 5 on external malleolar region of right lower limb. Biopsies were examined by light and confocal microscopy utilizing histochemical and immunohistochemical methods. Initial and final blood samples were collected to determine glucose, triglycerides, total cholesterol, glycated hemoglobin (HbA(1c)), low (LDL), and high density lipoproteins (HDL). Significant differences (P < 0.05) were observed between initial and final serum glucose levels for treated patients, and initial serum glucose levels between treated and control patients without diabetic ulcer. Glycated hemoglobin, triglycerides, cholesterol, and lipoprotein levels showed no significant changes. Eight patients treated with L-arginine reached total wound healing and the remaining three who abandoned the study because of change of residence showed relevant improvement. Histochemistry and immunohistochemistry methods have shown vascular impairment in both patients with diabetic ulcer (prior to treatment) and control patients without diabetic ulcer. Our observations strongly support efficacy of L-arginine for successful wound healing of diabetic ulcers.

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