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The effect of nerve block alone or with zinc on wound healing in a rat model of diabetic foot ulcer

Introduction: Patients with Diabetic Foot Ulcer (DFU) have a high risk of limb amputation as well as higher five-year mortality rates than those for several types of cancer. Effective treatment of DFU, therefore, is a pressing issue. Nerve block can have a beneficial wound-healing effect in this regard, due to its sympathectomy-like vasodilation promoting blood circulation. Zinc furthermore, as a cofactor, can facilitate wound healing. In this study, we evaluated the wound-healing effects of nerve block alone and with Intravenous (IV) zinc.

Materials and Methods: Fifteen (15) male Otsuka Long-Evans Tokushima Fatty (OLETF) rats were equally divided into three DFU groups: a non-treated (group 2), a nerve-block (group 3), and a nerveblock and IV zinc group (group 4). Five additional male Long-Evans Tokushima Otsuka (LETO) rats were assigned to a control, non-diabetic group (group 1). A full-thickness wound (5 mm × 5 mm) was made in all of the rats’ left dorsal foot, which, on post-injury day 1, was treated with sciatic nerve block alone (group 3) or additionally with IV zinc (group 4). On day 13, the wound size was measured, and a histological examination was performed with haematoxylin and eosin (H & E) and Masson’s trichrome staining.

Results: The wound-surface-area differences among the three DFU groups were not statistically significant (p=0.40). Neither were there any significant histological differences.

Conclusion: In this study, neither intermittent nerve-block alone or with IV zinc affected DFU healing.

Author(s): Yusom Shin, Tae Woo Park, Joo Won Kim, Min Jung Jung, Hee Bin Park