• Estrogen receptor;
  • Progesterone receptor;
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome;
  • Immunohistochemistry


Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a compression median nerve neuropathy common in women at menopausal age. The aim of this work was to study immunohistochemically the expression of estrogen (ER) and progesterone (PR) receptors in CTS and control specimens. Biopsies of transverse carpal ligament (TCL) and flexor tendon synovitis were collected from 23 women and from 7 men undergoing surgery for median nerve decompression at the wrist for CTS.

In TCL and synovial tissue, cells expressed ER and PR with statistically significant differences related to the age and sex of patients. Immunoreactivity was observed in fibroblasts of TCL, and in lining cells and fibroblasts of synovial tissue. In women, the number of ER-positive cells in the TCL and synovial tissue increased with the age, peaking at 55–70 years, and then decreasing. PR-immunoreactivity was observed only in fibroblasts of TCL and its expression decreased with age, while no immunolabeling was found in the synovial tissue. In TCL samples, the number of ER- and PR-positive cells in non-CTS patients was significantly lower than in CTS patients.

These results demonstrate that ER and PR are present in TCL and flexor tendon synovitis, suggesting a role for sex steroid hormones in the pathogenesis of CTS disease.