Introduction: Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) administration is an effective option for the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs). However, to date, studies assessing long-term outcomes and evaluating skin parameters after cell-based therapy are lacking. We presented the clinical outcomes of 3 patients, treated for DFUs with the bone marrow MSCs 3 years earlier.
Methods: Ultrasound examination was used to compare collagen density and epidermal thickness in areas of healed ulcers in comparison with non-affected skin used as a control. Ultrasound and dermatoscopy were used to exclude neoplasm formation, to assess scar contracture and wound recurrence.
Results: In all patients, no ulcer recurrence was detected, which was lower than the expected 60% rate of re-ulceration in diabetic patients in a 3-year period (OD [odds ratio] = 0.095, P = 0.12). No neoplasm formation, no contracture of hypertrophic scar, and adjacent tissue were registered. Collagen ultrasound density was decreased by 57% (P = 0.053) and epidermal thickness was increased by 72% (P = 0.01) in the area of healed ulcers in all patients.
Conclusion: MSCs therapy alone did not result in the complete restoration of the skin parameters within a 3-year period. MSCs may represent important adjuvant to the therapy, however, other novel approaches are required to achieve better results.
Keywords: Cell therapy, Diabetic foot ulcer, Mesenchymal stem cells, Mesenchymal stromal cells, Regenerative medicine, Wound healing