The purpose of the present study was to identify proliferating cells in control versus experimental condyles two weeks following experimental induction of anterior disk displacement (ADD) in the rabbit craniomandibular joint (CMJ). The right joint of 15 rabbits was exposed surgically and all diskal attachments were severed except for the posterior attachment. The disk was then repositioned anteriorly and sutured to the zygomatic arch. The left joint served as a sham-operated control. Ten additional joints were used as nonoperated controls. Mandibular condyles were excised two weeks following surgery and processed for proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) immunostaining. In control and sham operated condyles, PCNA was localized in the nuclei of chondroblasts of the reserve cell layer, chondrocytes of the upper hypertrophic layer and bone marrow cells of the subchondral bone. In contrast to control joints, the PCNA positive cells of the experimental joints were located throughout the osteoarthritic condylar cartilage. In addition, the percentage of PCNA positive cells of the osteoarthritic condylar cartilage was statistically significantly higher when compared to the control group, p < 0.05. It was concluded that surgical induction of ADD in the rabbit CMJ leads to an increase in mitosis of chondrocytes, which lead to cell proliferation and subsequent hyperplasia of the condylar cartilage.
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