Tissue Engineering the Temporomandibular Joint Disc: Modulation of Cellular Remodeling Events

Date(s) - 08/27/2014
2:00 pm

Andrea Matuska, PhD student

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a complex bilateral joint that undergoes frequent movement during talking, biting, chewing, and other everyday activities. Within the joint, a thick fibrocartilage disc mitigates the incongruity between the articulating surfaces of the glenoid fossa, articular eminence, and mandibular condyle. The disc adapts throughout a sequence of dynamic movements including rotation and translation of the mandible in relation to the temporal bone. A collection of temporomandibular disorders (TMDs) may affect one or all of the joint structures; however the disc is affected in as many as 70% of cases. When the disc is severely damaged or deformed a discectomy may be necessary, however no alloplastic disc alternatives are in use today and an incomplete joint is left susceptible to further deterioration. Due to the inferior characteristics of synthetic implant materials in response to the complex wear experienced by the articular disc, tissue engineering offers a promising approach to alleviate this clinical need. A porcine TMJ disc has been previously proposed as a readily available scaffold material with the correct size, complex morphology, and extracellular matrix (ECM) alignment as human TMJ disc. However success of tissue engineering is limited by cellular integration into the scaffold and long term viability directed, in part, by diffusion limitations within the ECM. The goal of this proposal is to build upon the development of a laser ablated decellularized porcine TMJ (pTMJ) scaffold that has improved cell adhesion through modified processing methods. This scaffold will be used as a platform to further evaluate the effect of engineered nutrient availability and culture environment on cell integration, viability, and remodeling capabilities. Finally this work will investigate long term viability solution and potential for improved physiologic integration by examining vascular supply in the retrodiscal tissue.