Background: Dupuytren's disease (DD) is a common fibroproliferative disease of unknown origin. The source of abnormal cells leading to DD formation remains underexplored. In addition to fascia, palmar skin and fat-derived cells may be a potential source of cells causing DD. This study aimed to profile haematopoietic and mesenchymal stem cells in different DD tissue components compared with tissue removed at carpal tunnel surgery (control). Methods: Biopsies were taken from the diseased cord, nodule, perinodular fat and skin overlying the nodule of ten patients with DD and compared with control tissue from seven patients having surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome. Fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS), immunohistochemistry and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (QRT-PCR) were used to identify expression of selected stem cell markers. Results: FACS and QRT-PCR analysis identified the highest RNA expression and number of cells positive for adipocyte stem cell markers (CD13 and CD29) in the DD nodule in comparison with carpal tunnel control tissue (P = 0·053). CD34 RNA was overexpressed, and a higher percentage of these cells was present in DD skin compared with carpal tunnel skin (P = 0·001). Conclusion: Each structural component of DD (cord, nodule, perinodular fat and skin) had distinct stem cell populations. These findings support the hypothesis that DD may result from mesenchymal progenitor cell expansion.
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