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Arch Oral Biol. 2006 Jan;51(1):37-49. Epub 2005 Jul 28.

Biomineralization and adaptive plasticity of the temporomandibular joint in myostatin knockout mice.

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Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL 60611-3008, USA.


Mice lacking myostatin (GDF-8), a negative regulator of skeletal muscle growth, show a significant increase in muscle mass versus normal mice. We compared wild-type and myostatin deficient mice to assess the postnatal effect of elevated masticatory loads due to increased jaw-adductor muscle activity and greater bite forces on mandibular condyle morphology. Microcomputed tomography (microCT) was used to provide details of internal condylar morphology and quantify bone density in three condylar regions. Biomineralization levels, as well as external mandibular dimensions, were used to characterize within-slice, within-joint, within-group and between-group variation. Dimensions of the mandible and mandibular condyle were similar between the myostatin knockout and normal mice. Knockout mice exhibited significantly more biomineralization on the outer surface of the condylar subchondral bone and along the condylar neck, most notably on the buccal side of the condylar neck. The buccal side of the inner aspect of the condyle was significantly less biomineralized in knockout mice, both for the pooled data and for the posterior and anterior condylar slices. Whilst normal mice had symmetric subchondral bone surfaces, those of knockout mice were asymmetric, with a lower, less convex surface on the buccal side versus the lingual side. This appears related to the ontogenetic effects of increased masticatory stress in the mandibles of knockout mice as compared to normal mice. Significant differences in biomineralization between normal and myostatin knockout mice, coupled with the lack of significant differences in certain external dimensions, underscores a need for information on the external and internal morphology of mineralized tissues vis-à-vis altered or excessive mechanical loads.

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