The Journal of investigative dermatology

Thrombomodulin promotes diabetic wound healing by regulating toll-like receptor 4 expression.

PMID 25651160


Keratinocyte-expressed thrombomodulin (TM) and the released soluble TM (sTM) have been demonstrated to promote wound healing. However, the effects of high glucose on TM expression in keratinocytes and the role of TM in diabetic ulcer remain unclear. In this study, we demonstrated that expressions of TM and Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) were both downregulated in high-glucose cultured human keratinocytes and in skin keratinocytes of diabetic patients. In addition, the wound-triggered upregulation of TM and sTM production was abolished in both high-glucose cultured human keratinocytes and streptozotocin-induced diabetic mouse skin. Furthermore, supplementation of recombinant sTM could increase TLR4 expression and promote cutaneous wound healing in both high-glucose cultured human keratinocytes and diabetic mice. However, in Tlr4-deleted mice, which exhibited delayed wound healing, the therapeutic benefit of recombinant sTM was abrogated. Moreover, our results showed that tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) expression in keratinocytes was dose-dependently upregulated by glucose, and TNF-α treatment downregulated the expression of TM and TLR4. Taken together, high-glucose environment reduces the expression of TM and TLR4 in keratinocytes possibly through the action of TNF-α, and recombinant sTM can increase the TLR4 expression and promote wound healing under diabetic condition.