Objective Temporomandibular joint osteoarthritis (TMJ-OA) is a degenerative disease characterized by permanent cartilage loss. Articular cartilage is maintained in a low-oxygen environment. The chondrocyte response to hypoxic conditions involves expression of hypoxia inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α), which induces chondrocytes to increase expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Here, we investigated the role of HIF-1α in mechanical load effects on condylar cartilage and subchondral bone in heterozygous HIF-1α-deficient mice (HIF-1α+/−). Design Mechanical stress was applied to the TMJ of C57BL/6NCr wild-type (WT) and HIF-1α+/− mice with a sliding plate for 10 days. Histological analysis was performed by HE staining, Safranin-O/Fast green staining, and immunostaining specific for articular cartilage homeostasis. Results HIF-1α+/− mice had thinner cartilage and smaller areas of proteoglycan than WT controls, without and with mechanical stress. Mechanical stress resulted in prominent degenerative changes with increased expression of HIF-1α, VEGF, and the apoptosis factor cleaved Caspase-3 in condylar cartilage. Conclusion Our results indicate that HIF-1α may be important for articular cartilage homeostasis and protective against articular cartilage degradation in the TMJ under mechanical stress condition, therefore HIF-1α could be an important new therapeutic target in TMJ-OA.
- Articular cartilage degradation
- Chondrocyte apoptosis
- Hypoxia inducible factor-1α
- Temporomandibular joint osteoarthritis (TMJ-OA)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology