Motivation, Characterization, and Strategy for Tissue Engineering the Temporomandibular Joint Disc

Michael S. Detamore, Kyriacos A. Athanasiou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


The purpose of this review is to serve as the standard point of reference in guiding researchers investigating the tissue engineering of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disc. Tissue engineering of the TMJ disc is in its infancy, and currently there exists a gap between the tissue engineering community and the TMJ characterization community. The primary goal is to help bridge that gap by consolidating the characterization studies here as a reference to researchers attempting to tissue engineer the TMJ disc. A brief review of TMJ anatomy is provided, along with a description of relevant pathology, current treatment, and a rationale for engineering the TMJ disc. The biochemical composition and organization of the disc are reviewed, including glycosaminoglycan (GAG) and collagen content. The collagen of the disc is almost exclusively type I and primarily runs anteroposteriorly through the center and in a ringlike fashion around the periphery. The GAG content is approximately an order of magnitude less than that of hyaline cartilage, and although the distribution is not entirely clear, it seems as though chondroitin and dermatan sulfate are by far the primary GAGs. Cellular characterization and mechanical properties under compression, tension, and shear are reviewed as well. The cells of the disc are not chondrocytes, but rather resemble fibrocytes and fibrochondrocytes and may be of the same lineage. Mechanically, the disc is certainly anisotropic and nonhomogeneous. Finally, a review of efforts in tissue engineering and cell culture studies of the disc is provided and we close with a description of the direction we envision/propose for successful tissue engineering of the TMJ disc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1065-1087
Number of pages23
JournalTissue Engineering
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Cell Biology


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