All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Jack E Lemons

Advisory Committee Members

Dale S Feldman

Mary J MacDougall

Laura Timares

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering (MSBME) School of Engineering


Diabetes is a disease affecting an increasing number people each year. The medical costs of patients with diabetes are substantial due to the many complications associated with the disease. Dermal wounds are one of these complications and are often very difficult to properly heal. Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields (PEMFs) have been introduced as a method by which to speed the healing of dermal wounds. In this study, a device (provided by Biomet/EBI, Parsippany, NJ) for supplying PEMFs in vitro was used to stimulate dermal fibroblasts, one of the key cells in wound healing. These cells were isolated from the genetically diabetic Zucker fa/fa rats and their non-diabetic littermates. Preliminary studies were performed on cells from both diabetic and non-diabetic animals to determine what differences may exist between the two. It was found that dermal fibroblasts from diabetic rats had significantly impaired proliferation compared to cells from non-diabetic rats (Tukey’s HSD, p < 0.05). Proliferation was also studied under the influence of high glucose at a concentration of 25 mM, and it was found that high glucose impaired the proliferation of dermal fibroblasts from both diabetic and non-diabetic rats (student’s t-test, p < 0.05). Migration rates of dermal fibroblasts were studied using the iv scratch wound assay. It was found that dermal fibroblasts from diabetic rats had significantly impaired scratch wound closure rates compared to cells from non-diabetic rats (p< 0.05). For the next set of studies, the effects of stimulation with PEMFs on dermal fibroblasts were determined. It was found that under PEMFs proliferation rate was not significantly changed, with the exception of an increase in proliferation for dermal fibroblasts from one diabetic rat. Additionally, the effects of three different ranges of PEMFs on migration rates of dermal fibroblasts from diabetic and non-diabetic animals were determined using the scratch wound assay. Stimulation with PEMFs significantly altered scratch wound closure rates of dermal fibroblasts, in that, for each range of PEMFs, scratch wound closure of dermal fibroblasts was significantly increased for at least one of the animals (p < 0.05). It was concluded that PEMFs produced significant effects on dermal fibroblasts from diabetic and non-diabetic rats and the positive effects may be host and range-dependent.

Included in

Engineering Commons



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