It is thought that local ischemia and oxygen radicals are responsible for fibroblast-to-myofibroblast cell transformation and proliferation. We hypothesized that hypoxia could differentially activate the contractility of fibroblasts from normal human palmar fascia and from fibroblasts-myofibroblasts of Dupuytren cords. Normal palmar fascia from 5 patients with carpal tunnel syndrome and Dupuytren cords from 5 patients were harvested. Cells were cultured from all tissue samples, and collagen lattices were prepared containing these cells. Oxygen treatment subgroups were created and incubated under hypoxic (1% O(2), 5% CO(2), and 94% N(2)), normoxic (21% O(2), 5% CO(2), and 74% N(2)), and hyperoxic (100% oxygen using 2.4 atm pressure twice a day for 7 d) conditions. After 7 days, each subgroup was photographed, and lattices were released from dishes. Postrelease photographs were taken immediately, 5 minutes after release, and after 1 hour. Areas of the lattices at each time point were calculated using MetaMorph software. Actin staining and live/dead cell analysis was performed. Linear repeated measures analysis of variance was used for data analysis given that contraction levels were measured over 3 distinct time points. We found a statistically significant difference between normal samples and Dupuytren samples in mean contraction levels over time. There was no statistically significant difference between tissue groups over the 3 time periods based on the oxygen treatment received. Our results showed a greater degree of contractility in Dupuytren disease cells than normal fibroblasts. However, the contraction in either group was not affected by oxygen level. Future in vivo research is needed to better understand the nature of pathophysiology of Dupuytren disease.

Türker, Murphy, Kaufman, Kutz, Meister, Hoying, , , (2013). Response of dupuytren fibroblasts to different oxygen environments. The Journal of hand surgery, 2013 Dec;38(12):2365-9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24140364