Patients with diabetes mellitus (DM) may develop corneal complications and delayed wound healing. The aims of this study are to characterize the molecular signatures and biological pathways leading to delayed epithelial wound healing and to delineate the involvement of TGFβ3 therein. Genome-wide cDNA microarray analysis revealed 1,888 differentially expressed genes in the healing epithelia of normal (NL) versus type 1 DM rat corneas. Gene ontology and enrichment analyses indicated TGFβ signaling as a major altered pathway. Among three TGFβ isoforms, TGF-β1 and β3 were upregulated in response to wounding in NL corneal epithelial cells (CECs), whereas the latter was greatly suppressed by hyperglycemia in rat type 1 and 2 and mouse type 1 DM models. Functional analysis indicated that TGF-β3 contributed to wound healing in NL corneas. Moreover, exogenously added TGF-β3 accelerated epithelial wound closure in type 2 rat and type 1 mouse DM corneas via Smad and PI3K-AKT signaling pathways, autoregulation, and/or upregulation of Serpine1, a well-known TGFβ target gene. Taken together, our study for the first time provides a comprehensive list of genes differentially expressed in the healing CECs of NL versus diabetic corneas and suggests the therapeutic potential of TGF-β3 for treating corneal and skin wounds in diabetic patients.
This article contains Supplementary Data online at http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/lookup/suppl/doi:10.2337/db13-1260/-/DC1.
F.W. is currently affiliated with the Department of Ophthalmology, the First Affiliated Hospital of Anhui Medical University, Hefei, Anhui, People’s Republic of China.
- Received August 15, 2013.
- Accepted October 25, 2013.
- © 2014 by the American Diabetes Association.
Readers may use this article as long as the work is properly cited, the use is educational and not for profit, and the work is not altered. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/ for details.