The pathophysiology of diabetic wound healing and the identification of new agents to improve clinical outcomes continue to be areas of intense research. There currently exist more than 10 different murine models of diabetes. The degree to which wound healing is impaired in these different mouse models has never been directly compared. We determined whether differences in wound impairment exist between diabetic models in order to elucidate which model would be the best to evaluate new treatment strategies. Three well-accepted mouse models of diabetes were used in this study: db/db, Akita, and streptozocin (STZ)-induced C57BL/6J. Using an excisional model of wound healing, we demonstrated that db/db mice exhibit severe impairments in wound healing compared with STZ and Akita mice. Excisional wounds in db/db mice show a statistically significant delay in wound closure, decreased granulation tissue formation, decreased wound bed vascularity, and markedly diminished proliferation compared with STZ, Akita, and control mice. There was no difference in the rate of epithelialization of the full-thickness wounds between the diabetic or control mice. Our results suggest that splinted db/db mice may be the most appropriate model for studying diabetic wound-healing interventions as they demonstrate the most significant impairment in wound healing. This study utilized a novel model of wound healing developed in our laboratory that stents wounds open using silicone splints to minimize the effects of wound contraction. As such, it was not possible to directly compare the results of this study with other studies that did not use this wound model.
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