Objective: Aging can cause an increase in the stiffness of hyaline cartilage as a consequence of increased protein crosslinks. By induction of crosslinking, a reduction in the diffusion of solutions into the hyaline cartilage has been observed. However, there is a lack of knowledge about the effects of aging on the biophysical and biochemical properties of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) cartilage. Hence, the aim of this study was to examine the biophysical properties (thickness, stiffness, and diffusion) of the TMJ condylar cartilage of horses of different ages and their correlation with biochemical parameters. Materials and methods: We measured the compressive stiffness of the condyles, after which the diffusion of two contrast agents into cartilage was measured using Contrast Enhanced Computed Tomography technique. Furthermore, the content of water, collagen, GAG, and pentosidine was analyzed. Results: Contrary to our expectations, the stiffness of the cartilage did not change with age (modulus remained around 0.7 MPa). The diffusion of the negatively charged contrast agent (Hexabrix) also did not alter. However, the diffusion of the uncharged contrast agent (Visipaque) decreased with aging. The flux was negatively correlated with the amount of collagen and crosslink level which increased with aging. Pentosidine, collagen, and GAG were positively correlated with age whereas thickness and water content showed negative correlations. Conclusion: Our data demonstrated that aging was not necessarily reflected in the biophysical properties of TMJ condylar cartilage. The combination of the changes happening due to aging resulted in different diffusive properties, depending on the nature of the solution.
- Temporomandibular joint