Effect of simvastatin injections on temporomandibular joint inflammation in growing rats

Mark D. George, Callista M. Owen, Adam L. Reinhardt, Peter J. Giannini, David B. Marx, Richard A. Reinhardt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Purpose: Juvenile idiopathic arthritis often affects the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), resulting in facial deformities, and intra-articular injections of anti-inflammatory steroids used in treatment may inhibit bone growth in the developing condyle. The purpose of this pilot study was to evaluate the anti-inflammatory properties of simvastatin (SIM), a bone anabolic drug, compared with the common steroid triamcinolone hexacetonide (TH) in experimental TMJ arthritis of growing rats. Methods: Joint inflammation was induced by injecting complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA) into the TMJs of 32 growing (4-week-old) Sprague-Dawley rats while simultaneously receiving 1) ethanol drug carrier, 2) 0.1 mg of SIM, 3) 0.5 mg of SIM, or 4) 0.15 mg of TH. Six rats had no treatment to the TMJ. Animals were euthanized 28 days later, and TMJs were decalcified and stained with hematoxylin-eosin. Results: Histopathologic TMJ results showed that CFA injection along with drug carrier induced increased thickness of the articular layer on the head of the condyle and inflammation of the retrodiscal area (CFA and ethanol). Although both TH and SIM reduced the articular layer thickness, 0.5 mg of SIM was more effective at reducing subsynovial inflammation. Conclusions: Intra-articular simvastatin showed anti-inflammatory properties in this TMJ model, prompting its further study in the growing TMJ, where bone anabolic properties would be important.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)846-853
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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