Limited Fatty Infiltration Due to Apoptosis in Human Degenerated Temporomandibular Joint Disks: An Immunohistochemical Study

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Wolters Kluwer

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Journal of Craniofacial Surgery

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In this study, we hypothesized that caspase 3, which plays a central role in the execution phase of cell apoptosis, could be involved in limiting fatty degeneration of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disks and therefore inhibit the TMJ disk tissue from completely degenerating into fatty tissue. Therefore, caspase 3 immunohistochemical expression in human TMJ degenerated disks was studied. Fifty-nine degenerated TMJ disks were stained with Harry's hematoxylin, and they were then examined with light microscopy to detect any pathologic changes typical of fatty degeneration. Sections from the same TMJ disk were immunostained also by a polyclonal anti-caspase 3 antibody. On morphologic observations, 11 disks of 59 degenerated ones also presented a fatty infiltration. Immunostaining with caspase 3 antibody was detected on adipocytes in the cytoplasm as well as the nuclei. Our results sustain the hypothesis that fatty degeneration is limited by apoptosis, being adipocytes immunolabeled by caspase 3 antibody. Hence, apart from the several factors that can trigger degeneration changes in TMJ disk, their appearance, spread, and permanence, at least for fatty degeneration, seem to be influenced by apoptosis.


Journal of Craniofacial Surgery, Vol. 21, No. 5 (September 2010): 1508-1511. DOI.

Luis Eduardo Almeida was affiliated with Center for Health and Biological Sciences, Pontifical Catholic University of Paraná, Curitiba, Brazil at the time of publication.