Collagen Changes Detected in Carpal Tunnel Tissue

Further work necessary to determine production, significance of changes

FRIDAY, April 21 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with idiopathic carpal tunnel syndrome have ultrastructural changes in their subsynovial collagen that may explain some of the pathological fibrotic changes associated with this disease, according to a report in the April issue of the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

Jinrok Oh, M.D., and colleagues from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., used transmission electron microscopy to measure the diameter and density of collagen fibrils in subsynovial connective tissue from 10 patients with idiopathic carpal tunnel syndrome. Patient tissue was compared to control tissue obtained from cadavers.

Deformed and spiraled collagen fibrils were found in the carpal tunnel patients, and evidence of elastin phagocytosis was seen in their tissue, both of which were rare in cadaver controls. In addition, the diameter of collagen fibrils was higher in patient samples compared with controls (54.8 versus 45.5 nanometers, respectively) while the number of fibrils per area was lower (157 in patients versus 201 in controls).

"Future studies are necessary to determine the relationship between these morphological changes and the alterations in absorptive function, interstitial pressure and ischemia, which are known to be present in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome," the authors conclude.

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Barry Thrash

Barry Thrash

Updated on April 21, 2006

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