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Hand Surg. 2014;19(3):481-90. doi: 10.1142/S0218810414300058.

Dupuytren's contracture: emerging insight into a Viking disease.

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Department of Older People's Medicine, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Norwich, Norfolk, UK.


Dupuytren's disease is a fibroproliferative condition of the palm, with a predilection for men, which has affected Northern Europeans since the Viking conquests. Although strongly heritable, clear evidence exists for environmental factors that modify the underlying genetic risk, such as diabetes, heavy drinking, and smoking. Evidence also exists for epilepsy (probably due to treatment with certain anti-epileptic drugs), and Human Immunodeficiency Virus infection. Recent large studies have shown no relationship with manual labour or vibrating tools. Two theories have emerged regarding the pathogenic mechanism: the first attributes the aberrant healing process that characterises Dupuytren's to free radicals, generated as a result of microangiopathy, whereas the second cites a genetic tendency toward apoptosis-resistant myofibroblasts. Despite only one study demonstrating linkage, emerging data from genome-wide association studies highlight a series of single nucleotide polymorphisms near members of the Wnt signalling pathway, and transcriptional profiling studies have consistently identified certain components of the extracellular matrix.


Dupuytren's Contracture; Epidemiology; Etiology; Genetics

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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