Many conditions involve the skin and are unique to the person diagnosed with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes because of the treatment and complications of the disease.
The way cells and biological molecules work is continuously being studied for practical use. According to an article published in the journal Experimental Molecular Medicine in October 2011, cells from the skin could someday be used for insulin production.
Certain kinds of skin cells called fibroblasts, like stem cells, can turn into fat, bone, cartilage, or muscle cells. Growing the cells with certain kinds of cell food caused them to begin the production of insulin. The insulin was able to bring down blood sugar levels to normal in diabetic mice. The product will not be hitting the drugstore shelves any time soon, but it’s exciting to know the advances being made in the laboratories.
Investigators at Wonju College of Medicine in Korea looked at fats that protect the skin, and small proteins that kill microbes in the skin of both diabetic and healthy rats.
According to this study, published in the journal Experimental Dermaology in December 2011, the diabetic rats had few protective molecules, and those with the highest hemoglobin A1C (HbA1c) levels had the lowest number of protective molecules.
From this information it has been speculated the loss of important fats and small proteins could explain the tendency of diabetics to suffer skin infections. A good reason for keeping your HbA1c percentage down below 7 per cent.
Both Type 2 diabetes and smoking interfere with blood circulation and make it difficult for skin grafts to succeed, according to researchers at Queen Sofia Hospital in Cordoba, Spain. Their study, reported in September 2011 in the European Journal of Dermatology, found the use of fibrin, a protein normally found in your skin, as glue, helped the grafts to survive.
Keep all aspects of your Type 2 diabetes under control and do not smoke but, failing that, fibrin glue can make grafts survive almost as well as in healthy people.
Investigators at Kitasato University School of Medicine addressed the problem of diabetic and other skin ulcers with the use of a kind of skin made in their laboratory. They used skin cells grown with proteins normally found in skin to make an artificial skin that was successfully transplanted to skin ulcers. Their work was reported in August 2011 in the Journal of Artificial Organs. Only 8 people were included in this preliminary study, but the researchers are hopeful the technique might become useful for skin ulcers that are not amenable to conventional therapy.
Scientists at the University of Limoges in France also looked at the problem of diabetic skin ulcers with a molecule that could be helpful in preventing them from forming. The study, reported in November 2011 in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, found that the molecule erythropoietin, which helps to form red blood cells, helped to prevent diabetic skin ulcers in mice. It was concluded further research could someday lead to production of erythropoietin to prevent diabetic skin ulcers.