01.01.21 Wound healing with topical BRAF inhibitor therapy in a diabetic model suggests tissue regenerative effects
Wound healing is a multi-step process to rapidly restore the barrier function. This process is often impaired in diabetic patients resulting in chronic wounds and amputation. We previously found that paradoxical activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway via topical administration of the BRAF inhibitor vemurafenib accelerates wound healing by activating keratinocyte proliferation and reepithelialization pathways in healthy mice. Herein, we investigated whether this wound healing acceleration also occurs in impaired diabetic wounds and found that topical vemurafenib not only improves wound healing in a murine diabetic wound model but unexpectedly promotes hair follicle regeneration. Hair follicles expressing Sox-9 and K15 surrounded by CD34+ stroma were found in wounds of diabetic and non-diabetic mice, and their formation can be prevented by blocking downstream MEK signaling. Thus, topically applied BRAF inhibitors may accelerate wound healing, and promote the restoration of improved skin architecture in both normal and impaired wounds.