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Keywords:

  • symphysis;
  • corpus;
  • microCT;
  • biomineralization;
  • plasticity, masticatory stress, mice

Abstract

Compared with the normal or wild-type condition, knockout mice lacking myostatin (Mstn), a negative regulator of skeletal muscle growth, develop significant increases in relative masticatory muscle mass as well as the ability to generate higher maximal muscle forces. Wild-type and myostatin-deficient mice were compared to assess the postweaning influence of elevated masticatory loads because of increased jaw-adductor muscle and bite forces on the biomineralization of mandibular cortical bone and dental tissues. Microcomputed tomography (microCT) was used to quantify bone density at a series of equidistant external and internal sites in coronal sections for two symphysis and two corpus locations. Discriminant function analyses and nonparametric ANOVAs were used to characterize variation in biomineralization within and between loading cohorts. Multivariate analyses indicated that 95% of the myostatin-deficient mice and 95% of the normal mice could be distinguished based on biomineralization values at both symphysis and corpus sections. At the corpus, ANOVAs suggest that between-group differences are due to the tendency for cortical bone mineralization to be higher in myostatin-deficient mice, coupled with higher levels of dental biomineralization in normal mice. At the symphysis, ANOVAs indicate that between-group differences are related to significantly elevated bone-density levels along the articular surface and external cortical bone in the knockout mice. Both patterns, especially those for the symphysis, appear because of the postweaning effects of increased masticatory stresses in the knockout mice versus normal mice. The greater number of symphyseal differences suggest that bone along this jaw joint may be characterized by elevated plasticity. Significant differences in bone-density levels between normal and myostatin-deficient mice, coupled with the multivariate differences in patterns of plasticity between the corpus and symphysis, underscore the need for a comprehensive analysis of the plasticity of masticatory tissues vis-à-vis altered mechanical loads. J. Morphol., 2007. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.