Korean scientists have found that transplanting human umbilical cord blood-derived endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) 'significantly accelerate' wound closure in diabetic mouse models.
Diabetes is often associated with impaired wound healing, according to study's corresponding author, Wonhee Suh of the CHA University Stem Cell Institute.
"EPCs are involved in revascularization of injured tissue and tissue repair," said Suh.
"Wounds associated with diabetes that resist healing are also associated with decreased peripheral blood flow and often resist current therapies.
"Normal wounds, without underlying pathological defects heal readily, but the healing deficiency of diabetic wounds can be attributed to a number of factors, including decreased production of growth factors and reduced revascularization," he said.
For the study, the researchers transplanted EPCs into an experimental group of mice modeled with diabetes-associated wounds, but did not transplant EPCs into a control group.
They found that the EPCs "prompted wound healing and increased neovascularization" in the experimental group.
"The transplantation of EPCs derived from human umbilical blood cells accelerated wound closure in diabetic mice from the earliest point," said Suh.
The researchers found that growth factors and cytokines (small proteins secreted by specific cells of the immune system) were "massively produced" at the wounded skin sites and contributed to the healing process.
The study has been published in the current issue of Cell Transplantation.