A randomized controlled preclinical trial on 3 interposal temporomandibular joint disc implants: TEMPOJIMS-Phase 2

J Tissue Eng Regen Med. 2021 Oct;15(10):852-868. doi: 10.1002/term.3230. Epub 2021 Aug 12.


The effort to develop an effective and safe temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disc substitute has been one of the mainstreams of tissue engineering. Biodegradable customized scaffolds could approach safety and effectiveness to regenerate a new autologous disc, rather than using non-biodegradable materials. However, it is still technically challenging to mimic the biomechanical properties of the native disc with biodegradable polymers. In this study, new 3D tailored TMJ disc implants were developed: (1) Poly(glycerol sebacate) (PGS) scaffold reinforced with electrospun Poly(εcaprolactone) (PCL) fibers on the outer surface (PGS+PCL); (2) PCL and polyethylene glycol diacrylate (PEGDA) (PCL+PEGDA); and (3) PCL. The TMJ implants were tested in a randomized preclinical trial, conducted in 24 black Merino sheep TMJ, perfoming bilateral interventions. Histologic, imaging, and kinematics analysis was performed. No statistical changes were observed between the PGS+PCL disc and the control group. The PCL+PEGDA and PCL groups were associated with statistical changes in histology (p = 0.004 for articular cartilage mid-layer; p = 0.019 for structure changes and p = 0.017 for cell shape changes), imaging (p = 0.027 for global appreciation) and dangerous material fragmentation was observed. No biomaterial particles were observed in the multi-organ analysis in the different groups. The sheep confirmed to be a relevant animal model for TMJ disc surgery and regenerative approaches. The PCL and PCL+PEGDA discs presented a higher risk to increase degenerative changes, due to material fragmentation. None of the tested discs regenerate a new autologous disc, however, PGS+PCL was safe, demonstrated rapid resorption, and was capable to prevent condyle degenerative changes.

Keywords: biomaterials; preclinical research; sheep; temporomandibular joint disc; temporomandibular joint disorders; tissue engineering.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Body Weight
  • Decanoates / chemistry
  • Glycerol / analogs & derivatives
  • Glycerol / chemistry
  • Implants, Experimental*
  • Organ Specificity
  • Polyesters / chemistry
  • Polymers / chemistry
  • Sheep
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disc / diagnostic imaging
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disc / physiology
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disc / surgery*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Decanoates
  • Polyesters
  • Polymers
  • poly(glycerol-sebacate)
  • polycaprolactone
  • Glycerol