Improving culture conditions for temporomandibular joint disc tissue engineering

D. E. Johns, K. A. Athanasiou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Background: The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is extremely important for activities like eating and talking, which can become painful and difficult for patients with TMJ dysfunction. Tissue engineering is a potential alternative to current surgical interventions through replacement of diseased or injured tissue with a functional construct. Since research with TMJ disc cells began relatively recently, optimal culturing conditions must be determined. Methods: Metabolic additives, L-glutamine, L-alanyl-L-glutamine, sodium pyruvate, and insulin, were examined for their effects on TMJ disc cells in monolayer. Effects of L-proline were examined in three-dimensional (3-D) culture at concentrations of 0, 25 and 100 mg/l. Results: The combination of L-glutamine, sodium pyruvate, and insulin improved cell proliferation rates without affecting collagen production or gene expression. No differences were observed in mechanical properties of the engineered constructs; however, collagen and glycosaminoglycan quantities normalized to cell number decreased at the highest concentration of L-proline. Conclusion: This work identified supplements for 2-D monolayer expansion. Other supplements or culture conditions still need to be investigated for 3-D tissue production. This work improves upon porcine TMJ disc cell culturing conditions, taking us closer to being able to engineer the TMJ disc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)246-257
Number of pages12
JournalCells Tissues Organs
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Temporomandibular joint disc
  • Tissue culture
  • Tissue engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy


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