Wound fluid under occlusive dressings from diabetic patients show an increased angiogenic response and fibroblast migration

Michael K Cerny*, Anna Wiesmeier, Ursula Hopfner, Charlotte Topka, Wen Zhang, Hans-Günther Machens, Martijn van Griensven, Niclas Broer, Dominik Duscher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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INTRODUCTION: Metabolic diseases like diabetes mellitus often show prolonged healing and chronic wounds. Occlusive wound dressings are known to support wound closure by creating a moist environment which supports collagen synthesis, epithelialization and angiogenesis. We aimed to assess the effect of occlusion on diabetic wound fluid on the cellular level regarding fibroblast activity and angiogenetic response.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: 22 split skin donor sites from 22 patients (11 patients with diabetes mellitus) were treated with occlusive dressings intraoperatively. On day 3, fluid and blood serum samples were harvested while changing the dressings. The influence of wound fluid on fibroblasts was assessed by measuring metabolic activity (Alamar Blue assay, Casey Counter), cell stress/death (LDH assay) and migration (in vitro wound healing assay) of fibroblasts. Angiogenesis of endothelial cells (HUVEC) was analyzed with the tube formation assay. Furthermore, a Magnetic Luminex Assay for multi-cytokines detection was performed focusing on inflammatory and pro-angiogenetic cytokines.

RESULTS: The influence of wound fluid under occlusive dressings from diabetic patients showed a significantly increased angiogenic response and fibroblast migration compared to the non-diabetic patient group. Additionally, cell stress was increased in the diabetic group. Cytokine analysis showed an increase in VEGF-A in the diabetic group.

CONCLUSION: Occlusive dressings may stimulate regenerative effects in diabetic wounds. Our in-vitro study shows the influence of wound fluid under occlusive dressings from diabetic patients on angiogenesis, migration and proliferation of fibroblasts, which are essential modulators of wound healing and scar modulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)446-453
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Tissue Viability
Issue number3
Early online date5 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


  • Occlusive dressing
  • Wound healing
  • Angiogenesis
  • Diabetes
  • SKIN
  • FOOT
  • MICE

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