Effect of mechanical loading on the metabolic activity of cells in the temporomandibular joint: a systematic review

Beatriz F. Betti, Vincent Everts, Johannes C. F. Ket, Hessam Tabeian, Astrid D. Bakker, Geerling E. Langenbach, Frank Lobbezoo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


Objectives: The purpose of this systematic review was to elucidate how different modalities and intensities of mechanical loading affect the metabolic activity of cells within the fibro-cartilage of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Materials and methods: A systematic review was conducted according to PRISMA guidelines using PubMed, Embase, and Web of Science databases. The articles were selected following a priori formulated inclusion criteria (viz., in vivo and in vitro studies, mechanical loading experiments on TMJ, and the response of the TMJ). A total of 254 records were identified. After removal of duplicates, 234 records were screened by assessing eligibility criteria for inclusion. Forty-nine articles were selected for full-text assessment. Of those, 23 were excluded because they presented high risk of bias or were reviews. Twenty-six experimental studies were included in this systematic review: 15 in vivo studies and 11 in vitro ones. Conclusion: The studies showed that dynamic mechanical loading is an important stimulus for mandibular growth and for the homeostasis of TMJ cartilage. When this loading is applied at a low intensity, it prevents breakdown of inflamed cartilage. Yet, frequent overloading at excessive levels induces accelerated cell death and an increased cartilage degradation. Clinical Significance: Knowledge about the way temporomandibular joint (TMJ) fibrocartilage responds to different types and intensities of mechanical loading is important to improve existing treatment protocols of degenerative joint disease of the TMJ, and also to better understand the regenerative pathway of this particular type of cartilage.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-67
JournalClinical Oral Investigations
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

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