Purpose: The purpose of this study was to test the hypotheses that hemoglobin recovered by arthrocentesis of the superior joint space of symptomatic human temporomandibular joints (TMJs) is 'old' hemoglobin that was not iatrogenically introduced by the arthrocentesis procedure and that it exists primarily in a non-native or denatured conformation state that may be sufficient to catalyze a reaction leading to the formation of damaging free radicals. Patients and Methods: Twelve patients diagnosed with a unilateral articular disk displacement with TMJ arthralgia were included in this study. A superior joint space arthrocentesis was performed in the affected TMJ, and outflow lavage volumes were collected in serial 2-mL fractions. α- Hemoglobin/albumin ratios were determined for each collected fraction by densitometric analysis of sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE). In addition, 3,3',5,5'-tetramethylbenzidine (TMB) assays were used to determine the conformation state of the recovered hemoglobin. Results: High α-hemoglobin/albumin ratios relative to that of serum (at least 10 times greater) were observed in several collected fractions of TMJ lavage fluid in all subjects studied. Because the tissue half-life of hemoglobin is significantly longer than that of albumin, these findings indicate that much of the hemoglobin recovered by arthrocentesis of symptomatic TMJs represents 'old' hemoglobin that was present in the joint before the procedure. Furthermore, based on reactivity in the TMB assay, we estimate that up to 89% of the α-hemoglobin present in TMJ lavage fluid samples exists in a denatured state. Conclusions: These results indicate that a significant amount of hemoglobin recovered by arthrocentesis of symptomatic TMJs exists in a denatured state and was present in the joint before arthrocentesis. Recent studies suggest that denatured hemoglobin may contribute redox active iron that can catalyze a reaction, leading to the formation of damaging free radicals. Such a process may represent one of the earliest molecular events involved in the pathogenesis of degenerative TMJ disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Oral Surgery