The carpal tunnel contains the digital flexor tendons and the median nerve, which are embedded in a unique network of fibrovascular interconnected subsynovial connective tissue (SSCT). Fibrous hypertrophy of the SSCT and subsequent adaptations in mechanical response are found in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), but not much is known about the development of the SSCT. This observational study describes the morphological development of SSCT using histology and ultramicroscopy in an animal model at four time points between late-term fetuses through adulthood. A transition is seen between 3 days and 6 weeks post-partum from a dense solid SSCT matrix to a complex multilayered structure connected with collagenous fibrils. These preliminary data show a developmental pattern that matches an adaptive response of the SSCT to loading and motion. Understanding the anatomical development aids in recognizing the pathophysiology of CTS and supports research on new therapeutic approaches.

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Keywords Animal model, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Subsynovial Connective Tissue
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Journal Veterinary Medicine and Science
Festen-Schrier, V.J.M.M, Vrieze, A. (Alyssa), & Amadio, P.C. (2020). Subsynovial connective tissue development in the rabbit carpal tunnel. Veterinary Medicine and Science. doi:10.1002/vms3.281