Dupuytren's contracture (DC) is a chronic and progressive fibroproliferative disorder restricted to the palmar fascia of the hands. Previously, we discovered the presence of high levels of connective tissue growth factor in sweat glands in the vicinity of DC nodules and hypothesized that sweat glands have an important role in the formation of DC lesions. Here, we shed light on the role of sweat glands in the DC pathogenesis by proteomic analysis and immunofluorescence microscopy. We demonstrated that a fraction of sweat gland epithelium underwent epithelial-mesenchymal transition illustrated by negative regulation of E-cadherin. We hypothesized that the increase in connective tissue growth factor expression in DC sweat glands has both autocrine and paracrine effects in sustaining the DC formation and inducing pathological changes in DC-associated sweat glands.
Keywords: CTGF; Dupuytren’s contracture; E-cadherin; epithelial-mesenchymal transition; extracellular matrix; sweat gland.