Fetal jaw movement affects development of articular disk in the temporomandibular joint


Hiroki Otani, MD, PhD, Department of Developmental Biology, Faculty of Medicine, Shimane University, 89-1 Enya-cho, Izumo-shi, Shimane 693-8501, Japan. Email: hotani@med.shimane-u.ac.jp


ABSTRACT  Previous studies suggest that jaw movement is an important factor in the development of cartilage in the temporomandibular joint during the prenatal and postnatal periods. In the present study, the effects of fetal jaw movement on the articular disk were studied in mice by restraining the opening movement of the mouth using the mouse exo utero development system. At embryonic day 18.5, the articular disk was reduced in size in the embryos whose maxilla and mandible were sutured (sutured group) and there were changes in the cellular morphology of the mesenchymal cells in the disk. The volume of the articular disk, the total number of cells and the number of 5-bromo-2′-deoxyuridine-positive cells in the articular disk were significantly lower in the sutured group than in the non-sutured control group. Our data revealed that fetal jaw movement affects the development of the articular disk in the temporomandibular joint.