Dupuytren contracture is characterized by a deformity of the hand in which the joints of one or more fingers cannot be fully straightened (extended); their mobility is limited to a range of bent (flexed) positions. The condition is a disorder of connective tissue, which supports the body's muscles, joints, organs, and skin and provides strength and flexibility to structures throughout the body. In particular, Dupuytren contracture results from shortening and thickening of connective tissues in the hand, including fat and bands of fibrous tissue called fascia; the skin is also involved.
While the cause of Dupuytren contracture is unknown, changes in one or more genes are thought to affect the risk of developing this disorder. Some of the genes associated with the disorder are involved in a biological process called the Wnt signaling pathway. This pathway promotes the growth and division (proliferation) of cells and is involved in determining the specialized functions a cell will have (differentiation).
Dupuytren contracture occurs in about 5 percent of people in the United States. The condition is 3 to 10 times more common in people of European descent than in those of non-European descent.
Dupuytren contracture is usually passed down through generations in families and is the most common inherited disorder of connective tissue. The inheritance pattern is often unclear. Some people who inherit gene changes associated with Dupuytren contracture never develop the condition.
Published Date: April 01, 2019Published By: National Institutes of Health