Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) plays an important part in the repair of cartilage in osteoarthritis. It has been hypothesised that intra-articular injection of TGF-β₁ promotes repair of cartilage and protects the subchondral bone from damage in osteoarthritic temporomandibular joints (TMJs). We made bilateral partial perforations of the disc to induce osteoarthritic joints in 36 rabbits. TGF-β₁ 20, 40, or 80 ng were injected into the right joint, and vehicle alone was injected into the left joint. Four additional animals were used as normal controls. Microcomputed tomography was used to quantify the three-dimensional microarchitecture of subchondral bone, followed by assessment of the proteoglycan content. All joints treated with TGF-β₁ were covered by a layer of well-organised fibrocartilage, and had increased proteoglycan content and normal microarchitectural properties, whereas the joint treated by vehicle alone had typical osteoarthritis-related degradation of cartilage and sclerosis of subchondral bone. These results suggested that TGF-β₁ is an effective way of treating osteoarthritis of the TMJ.
Copyright © 2012 The British Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.