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Diabetes. 2012 Nov;61(11):2906-12. doi: 10.2337/db12-0145. Epub 2012 Jul 30.

The role of microRNA-146a in the pathogenesis of the diabetic wound-healing impairment: correction with mesenchymal stem cell treatment.

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Nemours Children’s Hospital, Orlando, FL, USA.


The impairment in diabetic wound healing represents a significant clinical problem. Chronic inflammation is thought to play a central role in the pathogenesis of this impairment. We have previously shown that treatment of diabetic murine wounds with mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can improve healing, but the mechanisms are not completely defined. MicroRNA-146a (miR-146a) has been implicated in regulation of the immune and inflammatory responses. We hypothesized that abnormal miRNA-146a expression may contribute to the chronic inflammation. To test this hypothesis, we examined the expression of miRNA-146a and its target genes in diabetic and nondiabetic mice at baseline and after injury. MiR-146a expression was significantly downregulated in diabetic mouse wounds. Decreased miR-146a levels also closely correlated with increased gene expression of its proinflammatory target genes. Furthermore, the correction of the diabetic wound-healing impairment with MSC treatment was associated with a significant increase in the miR-146a expression level and decreased gene expression of its proinflammatory target genes. These results provide the first evidence that decreased expression of miR-146a in diabetic wounds in response to injury may, in part, be responsible for the abnormal inflammatory response seen in diabetic wounds and may contribute to wound-healing impairment.

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