2020 Volume 62 Issue 1 Pages 62-66
This study was performed to develop a new rat model of reduced masticatory activity in order to assess the effect of this reduction on the morphology of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) over time. Female rats were used, and ovariectomy was performed to simulate aged/postmenopausal status. Twenty-four SD rats aged 6 weeks were divided into four groups: ovariectomy/sham procedure (Ov/S); ovariectomy/reduced masticatory activity (Ov/RMA); non-Ov/S (NO/S); and non-Ov/RMA (NO/RMA). The RMA procedure involved grinding down the edges of the upper and mandibular incisors by about 3 mm and supplying the rats with a powdered diet. The bilateral TMJ was examined by micro-computed tomography at 0, 1, 2, 4, 6, and 8 weeks after the start of RMA. Condylar width was greater in the NO/S group than in the Ov/S group after the 2nd week, showing that ovariectomy reduced the width of the condyle. After the 2nd week, significant differences in condylar width were apparent between the NO/S and NO/RMA groups, and between the Ov/S and Ov/RMA groups. This RMA procedure appeared to provide a good model of reduced masticatory activity. The present findings in female rats suggest that reduction of appropriate mastication activity in the growth period results in poor growth of the mandibular condyle and immediately induces atrophy of the mandibular condyle under conditions simulating aged/postmenopausal status.