Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) inflammation is closely associated with oxidative stress. This study tested the potential of N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), an anti-oxidant amino-acid derivative, in alleviating oxidative stress-related damage in TMJ chondrocytes. The inflammatory condition was simulated by the addition of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) to TMJ-derived chondrocyte cultures. Exposure to H2O2 decreased the cell population by half within 2 days as a result of induced apoptosis and reduced proliferation. Gene expression of aggrecan and collagen II, as well as glycosaminoglycan production, were reduced by more than 70%. These compromised chondrocyte viability and function were fully restored by the addition of NAC to the cultures. NAC reduced the H2O2-elevated intracellular reactive oxygen species to the normal level and increased cellular glutathione reserves. These results indicate that NAC restores oxidative stress-induced cell death and severe functional impairment in TMJ chondrocytes, and warrant in vivo testing to explore its therapeutic potential as an anti-inflammatory agent.
- hydrogen peroxide
- reactive oxygen species (ROS)
ASJC Scopus subject areas