Reducing Cx43 expression stimulates skin wound healing. This is mimicked in models when Cx43 function is blocked by the connexin mimetic peptide Gap27. IGF-I also stimulates wound healing with IGFBP-5 attenuating its actions. Further, the IGF-I to IGFBP-5 ratio is altered in diabetic skin, where wound closure is impaired. We investigated whether Gap27 remains effective in augmenting scrape-wound closure in human skin wound models simulating diabetes-induced changes, using culture conditions with raised glucose, insulin and IGFBP-5. Gap27 increased scrape-wound closure in normal glucose and insulin (NGI) and to a lesser extent in high glucose and insulin (HGI). IGF-1 enhanced scrape-wound closure in keratinocytes whereas IGFBP-5 inhibited this response. Gap27 overcame the inhibitory effects of IGFBP-5 on IGF-1 activity. Connexin-mediated communication (CMC) was reduced in HGI, despite raised Cx43, and Gap27 significantly decreased CMC in NGI and HGI. IGF-I and IGFBP-5 did not affect CMC. IGF-I increased keratinocyte proliferation in NGI, and Gap27 increased proliferation in NGI to a greater extent than in HGI. We conclude that IGF-I and Gap27 stimulate scrape-wound closure by independent mechanisms with Gap27 inhibiting Cx43 function. Gap27 can enhance wound closure in diabetic conditions, irrespective of the IGF-I:IGFBP-5 balance.
Wright, C. S., Berends, R. F., Flint, D. J., & Martin, P. E. M. (2013). Cell motility in models of wounded human skin is improved by Gap27 despite raised glucose, insulin and IGFBP-5. Experimental Cell Research, 319(4), 390-401. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.yexcr.2012.12.013