Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Medical Sciences

Major Professor

Dominic D'Agostino, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Mack Wu, M.D.

Committee Member

Lisa Gould, M.D., Ph.D.

Committee Member

Thomas Taylor-Clark, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Paula Bickford, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kenneth Ugen, Ph.D.


Aging, Chronic Wounds, Ketosis, Exogenous Ketone Supplementation


Chronic wounds represent an under-acknowledged socioeconomic epidemic, affecting 1.8 million new patients per year and costing the US health care system upwards of $25 billion annually. This substantial cost is rapidly growing due to a disproportionate occurrence in the ever-aging population. Key features associated with age-related impairment of wound healing include limited energy and nutrient exchange, unremitting inflammations, increased reactive oxygen species (ROS), and diminished blood flow. Most chronic wound therapies target specific molecular mechanisms; however, there are often multiple mitigating factors that prevent normal wound closure. This is likely one reason most wound therapies are minimally effective. In the standard American diet, carbohydrates are broken down for fuel (glucose). While fasting, starvation, and calorie or carbohydrate restriction, beta-oxidation of stored fats in the liver produces ketone bodies (primarily acetoacetate (AcAc) and β-hydroxybutyrate (βHB) to serve as energy metabolites for extra-hepatic tissues. In addition to enhancing metabolic physiology, ketone bodies have recently been discovered to have signaling properties that are independent of their function as energy metabolites. Here we present the evidence for a novel method of inducing therapeutic ketosis via exogenous ketone supplementation to promote enhanced ischemic wound healing in young and aged Fischer 344 rats. Preliminary mechanistic studies demonstrated that exogenous ketone supplementation enhanced wound healing via increasing proliferation and migration, decreasing lactate production, and decreasing ROS production as well as affecting inflammatory cytokines and growth factors. We conclude that exogenous ketone supplementation will be an effective, cost efficient, low toxicity therapy to promote enhancement of wound healing in an aged population.

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