Objective: To examine the effects of high and low concentrations of transforming growth factor (TGF) β(1) and insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) on the extracelluar matrix synthesis of the self-assembled constructs of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disc.
Methods: The experimental groups of self-assembled constructs were exposed to IGF-I (10, 100 µg/L) and TGF-β(1) (5, 50 µg/L), the control groups were not added with any growth factors. All groups were examined at 3 and 6 weeks for gross morphological, histological, and biochemical changes. Safranin-O/fast green staining was used to examine glycosaminoglycan (GAG) distribution, picrosirius red and immunohistochemical staining to observe type I collagen distribution. Type I collagen contents were tested by ELISA assay kit, GAG contents were measured by Blyscan GAG assay kit, and the cell numbers were quantified with a Picogreen reagent kit.
Results: The growth factor groups all upregulated the matrix synthesis of the self-assembled constructs compared with control groups. TGF-β(1) (5 µg/L) and IGF-I (10 µg/L) were the two most potent concentration in increasing type I collagen and GAG synthesis and cells proliferation. IGF-I group (10 µg/L) produced nearly 2 times (109.16 ± 5.12 µg) as much type I collagen as the control group (69.13 ± 5.94 µg) at 3 weeks. The matrix contents and the number of the proliferated cells in control group and all GF groups at 6 weeks were more than those at 3 weeks.
Conclusions: IGF-I (10 µg/L) is the most beneficial growth factor and can be applied in tissue-engineering stratigies of the temporomandibular joint disc. At the same time, the exposure time of growth factors is another key factor that affects matrix synthesis of TMJ disc constructs.