The human palmar aponeurosis is involved in hand proprioception, and it contains different sensory corpuscle morphotypes that serve this role. In palmar fibromatosis (classically referred to as Dupuytren's disease), the palmar aponeurosis undergoes fibrous structural changes that, presumably, also affect the nervous system, causing altered perception. We analysed the various sensory nerve formation morphotypes in the palmar aponeuroses of healthy subjects and patients with palmar fibromatosis. To do this, we used immunohistochemistry for corpuscular constituents and the putative mechanoproteins PIEZO2 and acid-sensing ion channel 2. Free nerve endings and Golgi-Mazzoni, Ruffini, paciniform and Pacinian corpuscles were identified in both the healthy and the pathological conditions. The densities of the free nerve endings and Golgi-Mazzoni corpuscles were slightly increased in the pathological tissues. Furthermore, the Pacinian corpuscles were enlarged and displayed an altered shape. Finally, there was also morphological and immunohistochemical evidence of occasional denervation of the Pacinian corpuscles, although no increase in their number was observed. Both PIEZO2 and acid-sensing ion channel 2 were absent from the altered corpuscles. These results indicate that the human palmar aponeurosis is richly innervated, and the free nerve endings and sensory corpuscles within the palmar aponeurosis undergo quantitative and qualitative changes in patients with palmar fibromatosis, which may explain the sensory alterations occasionally reported for this pathology.
Keywords: Dupuytren's disease; PIEZO2; acid-sensing ion channel 2; mechanoproteins; palmar aponeurosis; palmar fibromatosis; sensory corpuscles.
© 2021 The Authors. Journal of Anatomy published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Anatomical Society.