Combined degenerative and regenerative remodeling responses of the mandibular condyle to experimentally induced disordered occlusion

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The purposes of this research were to investigate the long-term responses of mandibular condylar cartilage to experimentally induced disordered occlusion and to evaluate changes in the expression of the SDF-1/CXCR4 axis.


Experimentally induced disordered occlusions were created in 8-week-old female Sprague-Dawley rats by orthodontic methods. After 24 weeks, remodeling of the mandibular condylar cartilage was assessed by hematoxylin and eosin staining. Protein and mRNA expression of SDF-1, CXCR4, MMP9, IL6, OPG, and RANKL were investigated by means of immunohistochemical staining and real-time polymerase chain reaction.


Obvious cartilage degenerative remodeling responses were observed; they appeared as uneven distributions of cellular disposition, loss of cartilage surface integrity, and cell-free areas. Regenerative responses presenting as thickening of the whole and the calcified cartilage layers in the experimental group were also observed. Compared with the age-matched controls, the protein and mRNA levels of SDF-1, CXCR4, MMP9, IL6, and OPG, but not RANKL, were increased in the experimental group (all, P <0.05). In addition, the mRNA level of RANKL/OPG showed a decreasing trend in the experimental group compared with the age-matched controls (P = 0.052).


This study demonstrated that long-term experimentally induced disordered occlusion leads to a combined response in degeneration and regeneration of mandibular cartilage, accompanied by active interaction of the SDF-1/CXCR4 axis and local upregulation of MMP9, IL6, and OPG.

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