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Arch Oral Biol. 1999 Apr;44(4):297-304.

Immunolocalization of gelatinase-A (matrix metalloproteinase-2) in damaged human temporomandibular joint discs.

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Istituto di Istologia ed Embriologia Generale, University Pavia, Italy.


The fibrous tissue of the articular disc of the dysfunctional temporomandibular joint undergoes deep and variable structural modifications. Here the concurrence of morphological changes and the expression of matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) in damaged discs from individuals suffering joint dysfunction was investigated. Microscopic, ultrastructural and immunocytochemical investigations were made on variously damaged articular discs and on one control sample. Disaggregation of collagen fibres, an increase in cellular components and calcification of large areas of tissue were observed in the damaged discs. These modifications were accompanied by a positive immunoreaction pattern for MMP-2. Fibroblast-, chondroblast- and osteoblast-like cells displayed a positive cytoplasmic reaction. In samples displaying evidence of synovial hyperplasia, some cells of the synovial protrusions were MMP-2 immunoreactive. No MMP-2 staining was observed in the control sample. These findings demonstrate that structural modifications of the articular disc could be specific responses to changes in the function of the temporomandibular joint. Variations in extrinsic stimuli may activate intrinsic factors, such as MMPs, that induce structural modifications in the discal tissue.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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