Cutaneous innervation in impaired diabetic wound healing

Nicole C. Nowak, Daniela M. Menichella, Richard Miller, Amy S. Paller*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Type 2 diabetes is associated with several potential comorbidities, among them impaired wound healing, chronic ulcerations, and the requirement for lower extremity amputation. Disease-associated abnormal cellular responses, infection, immunological and microvascular dysfunction, and peripheral neuropathy are implicated in the pathogenesis of the wound healing impairment and the diabetic foot ulcer. The skin houses a dense network of sensory nerve afferents and nerve-derived modulators, which communicate with epidermal keratinocytes and dermal fibroblasts bidirectionally to effect normal wound healing after trauma. However, the mechanisms through which cutaneous innervation modulates wound healing are poorly understood, especially in humans. Better understanding of these mechanisms may provide the basis for targeted treatments for chronic diabetic wounds. This review provides an overview of wound healing pathophysiology with a focus on neural involvement in normal and diabetic wound healing, as well as future therapeutic perspectives to address the unmet needs of diabetic patients with chronic wounds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-108
Number of pages22
JournalTranslational Research
StatePublished - Oct 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Biochemistry, medical


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