Protocol to Create Chronic Wounds in Diabetic Mice

This article has been accepted and is currently in production

Abstract

Chronic wounds develop as a result of defective regulation in one or more complex cellular and molecular processes involved in proper healing. They impact ~6.5M people and cost ~$40B/year in the US alone. Although a significant effort has been invested in understanding how chronic wounds develop in humans, fundamental questions remain unanswered. Recently, we developed a novel mouse model for diabetic chronic wounds that have many characteristics of human chronic wounds. Using db/db-/- mice, we can generate chronic wounds by inducing high levels of oxidative stress (OS) in the wound tissue immediately after wounding, using a one-time treatment with inhibitors specific to the antioxidant enzymes catalase and glutathione peroxidase. These wounds have high levels of OS, develop biofilm naturally, become fully chronic within 20 days after treatment and can remain open more for more than 60 days. This novel model has many features of diabetic chronic wounds in humans and therefore can contribute significantly to advancing fundamental understanding of how wounds become chronic. This is a major breakthrough because chronic wounds in humans cause significant pain and distress to patients and result in amputation if unresolved. Moreover, these wounds are very expensive and time-consuming to treat, and lead to significant loss of personal income to patients. Advancements in this field of study through the use of our chronic wound model can significantly improve health care for millions who suffer under this debilitating condition. In this protocol, we describe in great detail the procedure to cause acute wounds to become chronic, which has not been done before.