eCM (Eur Cell Mater / e Cells & Materials) Not-for-Profit Open Access
Created by Scientists, for Scientists
 ISSN:1473-2262         NLM:100973416 (link)         DOI:10.22203/eCM

2021   Volume No 45 – pages 1-13

Title: Characterization of temporomandibular joint articular disc progenitor cell clones

Authors:  KJ Weekes, P Lam, C Kim, B Johnstone

Address: Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR, USA

E-mail: johnstob at

Abstract: A critical component of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the fibrocartilage articular disc (AD). Researchers have attempted to regenerate the AD to alleviate TMJ osteoarthritis but alternative cell sources for use in AD regenerative approaches are needed due to insufficient extracellular matrix (ECM) production by total articular disc cells (TACs). Tissue-specific progenitor cells have been identified in many tissues. The aim of the present study was to identify adult multipotent progenitor cells within the AD suitable for regenerative medicine applications.
A novel AD progenitor cell population was identified in rhesus macaques. Clonally derived articular disc progenitor cells (ADPs) were isolated using fibronectin differential cell adhesion. ADPs represent between 1 and 3 % of the TAC population and are capable of in vitro expansion beyond 60 population doublings. ADPs were characterized using osteogenic, adipogenic, and fibrochondrogenesis differentiation assays. Clones exhibited phenotypic plasticity, differentiating into osteocytes, adipocytes, and fibrochondrocytes.
ECM secretion profiles following fibrochondrogenic differentiation were assessed using immunohistochemistry (IHC), fluorescently activated cell sorting (FACS), total collagen, and glycosaminoglycan (GAG) assays and compared with TACs, articular cartilage progenitor cells (ACPs), tendon progenitor cells (TPCs) and bone-marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMMSCs). ADP pellet cultures produced a biochemical phenotype similar to native AD tissue, with production of versican (VCAN) and collagen types I, II, III, and VI (COL1, COL2, COL3, COL6). However, clonally derived ADP cell lines produced different amounts of ECM and exhibited different expansion potentials. These findings indicated flexibility in clone selection for potential regenerative strategies to recapitulate native anisotropy.

Keywords: Cell biology, cell differentiation, temporomandibular joint (TMJ), temporomandibular disorders (TMDs), tissue engineering, stem cell(s), regenerative medicine.

Publication date: January 9th 2023

Article download: Pages 1-13 (PDF file)

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