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Volume 25 , Issue 3
Summer 2011

Pages 261–268


Effect of Estrogen and Altered Diet Hardness on the Expression of Estrogen Receptor Alpha and Matrix Metalloproteinase-8 in Rat Condylar Cartilage

Marko Orajärvi, DDS/Outi Hirvonen, DDS/Shi-Bin Yu, MDS, PhD/Xiaodong Liu, PhD/Petri Tiilikainen, DDS/Meiqing Wang, DDS, MD, PhD/Aune Raustia, DDS, PhD/Pertti Pirttiniemi, DDS, PhD


PMID: 21837293

Aims: To examine the effect of decreased estrogen level and altered diet hardness on condylar cartilage morphology of the rat temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and on the expression of condylar cartilage estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) and matrix metalloproteinase-8 (MMP-8). Methods: A total of 36 female rats was divided into four groups: ovariectomized rats fed a normal diet, non-ovariectomized controls fed a normal diet, ovariectomized rats fed a soft diet, and non-ovariectomized controls fed a soft diet. Ovariectomy was performed at the age of 60 days. Seven days after the operation, the rats were sacrificed. Repeated measures ANOVA and Duncan’s multiple comparison tests were used for statistical analysis. Results: The ovariectomized rats had thicker cartilage layers than the controls, both in the normal diet and soft diet groups. The thinnest cartilage layers were found in the control rats fed with the soft diet. The thickness of the chondroblastic layer was significantly higher (P < .001) in the normal-diet rats than in the soft-diet rats in both ovariectomized and non-ovariectomized groups. The thickness of the proliferative layer was significantly higher (P < .001) in the ovariectomized soft-diet rats than in the soft-diet control rats. The proportional amount of ERα was statistically significantly higher (P < .001) in the condylar cartilage of the ovariectomized rats than in the non-ovariectomized control rats both in the normal- and soft-diet groups. The proportional amount of ERα was statistically significantly higher (P < .001) in the ovariectomized normal-diet rats than in the ovariectomized soft-diet rats. The proportional number of MMP-8–positive cells was statistically significantly higher (P < .001) in the condylar cartilage of ovariectomized rats fed the soft diet than in non-ovariectomized control rats fed the soft diet. Control rats fed with the normal diet had a higher proportional amount of MMP-8 positive cells than control rats fed with the soft diet (P < .05). Conclusion: The rat TMJ condylar cartilage is sensitive to changes in estrogen levels and altered diet hardness. J Orofac Pain 2011;25:261–268

Key words: ERα, estrogen, joint loading, mandibular condylar cartilage, MMP-8


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