Estrogen receptor alpha mediates mandibular condylar cartilage growth in male mice


J. L. Robinson, V. Gupta, P. Soria, E. Clanaman, S. Gurbarg, M. Xu, J. Chen, S. Wadhwa


In the appendicular skeleton, estrogen via ERα signalling has been shown to mediate endochondral growth plate fusion in both males and females. However, the role of ERα in mediating growth of the mandibular condylar cartilage is unknown. Thus, this study focuses on the characterization of the mandibular condylar cartilage phenotype in young and adult male ERαKO mice.

Columbia University Medical Center.

Material and Methods
WT and ERαKO C57BL/6 male mice were sacrificed at 49 days or 9 months for phenotypic analysis. Changes to MCC thickness, cell number and cell density were measured using histomorphometric methods. Cartilage-specific gene expression and OARSI scores were investigated for 49-day and 9-month-old male ERαKO and WT mice.

In young mice, a significant increase in the number of mandibular condylar cartilage cells and a significant decrease in the expression of Col10, Runx2 and DMP1 were observed in the male ERαKO mice compared to WT. In 9-month-old mice, we found a similar increase in the number of cells but no change in osteoarthritic histological scoring in ERαKO mice compared to WT mice.

In summary, estrogen plays a role in mediating mandibular condylar maturation in young male mice. However, according to this study, it does not play a role in mediating long-term growth or age-related mandibular condylar cartilage degeneration in males.