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Comparison of in-vitro and ex-vivo wound healing assays for the investigation of diabetic wound healing and demonstration of a beneficial effect of a triterpene extract

: Ueck, C.; Volksdorf, T.; Houdek, P.; Vidal-Y-Sy, S.; Sehner, S.; Ellinger, B.; Lobmann, R.; Larena-Avellaneda, A.; Reinshagen, K.; Ridderbusch, I.; Kohrmeyer, K.; Moll, I.; Daniels, R.; Werner, P.; Merfort, I.; Brandner, J.M.

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PLoS one. Online journal 12 (2017), Nr.1
ISSN: 1932-6203
Zeitschriftenaufsatz, Elektronische Publikation
Fraunhofer IME ()

Diabetes mellitus is a frequent cause for chronic, difficult-to-treat wounds. New therapies for diabetic wounds are urgently needed and in-vitro or ex-vivo test systems are essential for the initial identification of new active molecules. The aim of this study is to compare in-vitro and ex-vivo test systems for their usability for early drug screening and to investigate the efficacy of a birch bark triterpene extract (TE) that has been proven ex-vivo and clinically to accelerate non-diabetic wound healing (WH), in a diabetic context. We investigated in-vitro models for diabetic WH, i.e. scratch assays with human keratinocytes from diabetic donors or cultured under hyperglycaemic conditions and a newly developed porcine ex-vivo hyperglycaemic WH model for their potential to mimic delayed diabetic WH and for the influence of TE in these test systems. We show that keratinocytes from diabetic donors often fail to exhibit significantly delayed WH. For cells under hyperglycaemic conditions significant decrease is observed but is influenced by choice of medium and presence of supplements. Also, donor age plays a role. Interestingly, hyperglycaemic effects are mainly hyperosmolaric effects in scratch assays. Ex-vivo models under hyperglycaemic conditions show a clear and substantial decrease of WH, and here both glucose and hyperosmolarity effects are involved. Finally, we provide evidence that TE is also beneficial for ex-vivo hyperglycaemic WH, resulting in significantly increased length of regenerated epidermis to 188±16% and 183±11% (SEM; p<0.05) compared to controls when using two different TE formulations. In conclusion, our results suggest that microenvironmental influences are important in WH test systems and that therefore the more complex hyperglycaemic ex-vivo model is more suitable for early drug screening. Limitations of the in-vitro and ex-vivo models are discussed. Furthermore our data recommend TE as a promising candidate for in-vivo testings in diabetic wounds.