Degenerative changes of condylar subchondral bone occur frequently in temporomandibular disorders. Although psychologic stresses and occlusal abnormalities have been implicated in temporomandibular disorder, it is not known if these risks represent synergistic comorbid factors that are involved in condylar subchondral bone degradation that is regulated by the sympathetic nervous system. In the present study, chronic immobilization stress (CIS), chemical sympathectomy, and unilateral anterior crossbite (UAC) were sequentially applied in a murine model. Norepinephrine contents in the subjects' serum and condylar subchondral bone were detected by ELISA; bone and cartilage remodeling parameters and related gene expression in the subchondral bone were examined. Subchondral bone loss and increased subchondral bone norepinephrine level were observed in the CIS and UAC groups. These groups exhibited decreased bone mineral density, volume fraction, and bone formation rate; decreased expressions of osterix, collagen I, and osteocalcin; but increased trabecular separation, osteoclast number and surface, and RANKL expression. Combined CIS + UAC produced more severe subchondral bone loss, higher bone norepinephrine level, and decreased chondrocyte density and cartilage thickness when compared to CIS or UAC alone. Sympathectomy simultaneously prevented subchondral bone loss and decreased bone norepinephrine level in all experimental subgroups when compared to the vehicle-treated counterparts. Norepinephrine also decreased mRNA expression of osterix, collagen I, and osteocalcin by mesenchymal stem cells at 7 and 14 d of stimulation and increased the expression of RANKL and RANKL/OPG ratio by mesenchymal stem cells at 2 h. In conclusion, CIS and UAC synergistically promote condylar subchondral bone loss and cartilage degradation; such processes are partially regulated by norepinephrine within subchondral bone.
- occlusal abnormalities
- psychological stresses
- subchondral bone
- sympathetic nerve system (SNS)
- temporomandibular disorder (TMD)
- temporomandibular joint (TMJ)
ASJC Scopus subject areas