Estrogenic effect on swelling and monocytic receptor expression in an arthritic temporomandibular joint model. Academic Article uri icon


  • Clinical presentation of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders are more common in women and changes in the female hormone estrogen affect the level of swelling, pro-inflammatory cytokine release and pain in animal models of TMJ arthritis. Estrogen also modulates the expression of the CD16 receptor in vitro. This alters pro-inflammatory cytokine release in monocytes/macrophages when auto-antigens and arthritic factors bind the CD16 receptor. This study investigated the effects of various levels of estrogen on the intensity of inflammation and CD16 expression in a TMJ arthritic animal model. The experiments included rats that were intact or ovariectomized (OVX), eliminating the major source of estrogen output. A portion of the OVX animals had estrogen replaced with 17-beta estradiol (E2) using Alzet pumps. In OVX animals E2 levels were administered for 10 days to create an artificial estrus cycle or to simulate pregnancy. Following E2 treatment the rats were given an intra-articular TMJ injection of saline or complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA). CFA injection significantly increased TMJ swelling, stress induced chromodacryorrhea and attenuated food intake, thus indicating the adjuvant induced TMJ pain/inflammation. Removing endogenous E2 through OVX reduced CFA induced TMJ inflammation, whereas CFA increased the number of TMJ monocytes expressing the CD14 receptor equally in all groups irrespective of plasma E2 levels. Paradoxically, higher levels of E2 reduced the number of TNF-alpha positive, CD16+ and double labeled CD14+/CD16+ cells. The findings indicate that reduced plasma E2 levels attenuated CFA induced TMJ inflammation, whereas increasing E2 levels enhanced TMJ swelling in a dose dependent manner. Estrogenic group differences in CFA induced swelling were independent of TMJ CD14+, CD14+/CD16+ or CD16+ cell numbers suggesting E2 action on the CFA immune response primarily excluded CD16 receptor action.

published proceedings

  • J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol

author list (cited authors)

  • Guan, G., Kerins, C. C., Bellinger, L. L., & Kramer, P. R.

citation count

  • 33

complete list of authors

  • Guan, Guoqiang||Kerins, Carolyn C||Bellinger, Larry L||Kramer, Phillip R

publication date

  • January 2005