Novel Therapy May Relieve Temporomandibular Joint Pain
University of Connecticut scientists are studying medications called senolytics that are designed to target and kill damaged cells.
University of Connecticut (UConn) scientists are studying medications called senolytics that are designed to target and kill damaged cells — called senescent cells — that cause inflammation and damage to surrounding healthy cells. If senolytics work as intended, the treatment may be helpful in alleviating temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems by removing senescent cells.
Ming Xu, PhD, an assistant professor in UConn Health School of Medicine’s Center on Aging and the Department of Genetics and Genome Sciences, and colleagues Yueying Zhou, PhD, in the Center on Aging and Xiangya Stomatological Hospital, and Sumit Yadav, BDS, MDS, PhD, an associate professor in UConn School of Dental Medicine’s Department of Orthodontics, combined two senolytics to remove senescent cells in the jaw joints of mice.
In their study, investigators gave 24-month-old mice a combination regimen of dasatinib and quercetin for six weeks. Following the study period, the subjects’ cartilage and bone more closely resembled that of 4-month-old mice; specifically, the mandibular condylar cartilage had become thicker and the bone smoother in the jaw joints of the older mice.
According to researchers, senolytics had little effect on 4-month-old mice, indicating age-specific benefits. The authors suggest this “provides proof-of-concept evidence that age-related TMJ degeneration can be alleviated by pharmaceutical intervention targeting cellular senescence. Since the senolytics used in this study have been proven relatively safe in recent human studies, these findings may help justify future clinical trials addressing TMJ degeneration in old age.”
The report, “Senolytics Alleviate the Degenerative Disorders of Temporomandibular Joint in Old Age,” appears in Aging Cell.