Question:I've just been diagnosed with Dupuytren's disease. What can you tell me about this condition? What brings it on?
Dupuytren's disease (DD) is the overgrowth of cells in tissue around the tendons of the palm. Sometimes it affects tendons in the feet in a similar way. The tissue forms tight cords that pull the fingers (or toes) into flexion.
There isn't much known about what causes DD. Scientists are trying to find a genetic link. It seems to affect men around age 50 and older. Men of northern European background are targeted most often. Older men from Scotland, Norway, and Iceland have the highest incidence of DD.
Risk factors associated with DD include: alcoholism, diabetes, epilepsy, and smoking. Just what is the link remains unknown.
Genetic studies have been able to isolate one gene that may be responsible for the tissue overgrowth. The MafB gene appears to be present four times as much in tissue removed from hands affected by DD. MafB is known to cause tissue to grow but how or why it gets turned on or turned up in DD remains a mystery.Lucy C. Lee, BA, et al. Expression of a Novel Gene, MafB, in Dupuytren's Disease. In The Journal of Hand Surgery. February 2006. Vol. 31A. No. 2. Pp. 211-218.
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