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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Enhanced Dupuytren's disease fibroblast populated collagen lattice contraction is independent of endogenous active TGF-β2

Raymond Tse14, Jeffrey Howard124, Yan Wu14 and Bing Siang Gan1234*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Surgery, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada

2 Department of Biochemistry, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada

3 Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada

4 Cell & Molecular Biology Laboratory, Hand and Upper Limb Centre, Lawson Health Research Institute, St. Joseph's Health Centre, London, Ontario, Canada

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BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2004, 5:41  doi:10.1186/1471-2474-5-41

Published: 12 November 2004



Dupuytren's disease (DD) is a debilitating fibro-proliferative disorder of the hand characterized by the appearance of fibrotic lesions (nodules and cords) leading to flexion contractures of the fingers and loss of hand function. Although the molecular mechanism of DD is unknown, it has been suggested that transforming growth factor-β2 (TGF-β2) may play an important role in the underlying patho-physiology of the disease. The purpose of this study was to further explore this hypothesis by examining the effects of TGF-β2 on primary cell cultures derived from patient-matched disease and normal palmar fascia tissue using a three-dimensional collagen contraction assay.


Fibroblast-populated collagen lattice (FPCL) contraction assays using primary cell cultures derived from diseased and control fascia of the same DD patients were studied in response to exogenous TGF-β2 and neutralizing anti-TGF-β2 antibodies.


Contraction of the FPCLs occurred significantly faster and to a greater extent in disease cells compared to control cells. The addition of TGF-β2 enhanced the rate and degree of collagen contraction in a dose-dependent fashion for both control and diseased cells. Neutralizing anti-TGF-β2 antibodies abolished exogenous TGF-β2 stimulated collagen contraction, but did not inhibit the enhanced basal collagen contraction activity of disease FPCL cultures.


Although exogenous TGF-β2 stimulated both disease and control FPCL contraction, neutralizing anti-TGF-β2 antibodies did not affect the elevated basal collagen contraction activity of disease FPCLs, suggesting that the differences in the collagen contraction activity of control and disease FPCL cultures are not due to differences in the levels of endogenous TGF-β2 activity.