Purpose: Dupuytren disease (DD) has been associated with enlarged Pacinian corpuscles (PCs) and with PCs having a greater number of lamellae. Based on these associations, we hypothesized that subjects with DD would have altered sensitivity to high-frequency vibrations and that the changes would be more prominent at 250 Hz, where healthy subjects demonstrate the highest sensitivity.
Methods: A novel device was created to deliver vibrations of specific frequencies and amplitudes to the fingers and palm. Using a Psi-marginal adaptive algorithm, vibrotactile perception thresholds (VPTs) were determined in 36 subjects with DD and 74 subjects without DD. Experiments were performed at 250 Hz and 500 Hz at the fingertip and palm. The VPTs were statistically analyzed with respect to disease status, age, gender, location tested, and frequency tested.
Results: We found that VPT increases with age, which agrees with findings by others. Women showed greater sensitivity (i.e. lower VPT) than men. Men exhibited lower sensitivity in DD versus healthy subjects, but the results were not statistically significant. In subjects with DD presenting unilaterally, the unaffected hand was more sensitive than the affected hand, in particular for a 250 Hz stimulus applied to the finger.
Conclusions: The data on vibration sensitivity obtained from a large group of subjects with and without DD present interesting trends that may serve as a useful reference to future DD researchers. Understanding additional symptoms of DD may facilitate development of novel diagnostic or prognostic protocols.
Keywords: Dupuytren contracture; Dupuytren disease; Pacinian corpuscles; biomechanics; hand; somatosensory.