Research ArticleTissue Engineering

Tissue engineering toward temporomandibular joint disc regeneration

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Science Translational Medicine  20 Jun 2018:
Vol. 10, Issue 446, eaaq1802
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaq1802

Disjointed no more

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction causes pain and limits movement of the jaw joint. Thinning of the TMJ disc, a fibrocartilage structure that allows for smooth joint movement, is an early sign of TMJ dysfunction. To help prevent joint degeneration, Vapniarsky et al. implanted engineered discs derived from rib cartilage cells into a minipig model of TMJ disc thinning. The implants had biomechanical and biochemical properties similar to native discs and improved closure of disc defects, reduced osteoarthritis scores, and reduced degenerative changes in the jaw joint. This scaffold-free approach to tissue engineering disc implants could help advance development of regenerative therapies for TMJ dysfunction.