Objective—To investigate the relationship between inflammatory responses of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and the metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joint in clinically normal horses.
Animals—7 mature horses.
Procedures—In each horse, 1 TMJ and 1 MCP joint were injected with lipopolysaccharide (LPS; 0.0025 μg). The contralateral TMJ and MCP joint were injected with saline (0.9% NaCl) solution. Synovial fluid samples were collected from all 4 joints over 24 hours after injection. Concentrations of interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor-α, transforming growth factor-β, and total protein were measured via immunoassay. Horses were assessed for clinical signs of joint inflammation at each time point.
Results—Concentrations of interleukin-6 were not significantly different between LPS-injected MCP joints and TMJs at any time point. Transforming growth factor-β concentrations were significantly increased in MCP joints, compared with concentrations in TMJs, at 12 and 24 hours after injection. Tumor necrosis factor-α concentrations were significantly higher in LPS-injected TMJs than in LPS-injected MCP joints at 1 and 6 hours after injection. Total protein concentration did not differ significantly between LPS-injected MCP joints and TMJs. Injection of LPS induced clinical inflammation at all time points; additionally, 2 MCP joints (but no TMJs) had an inflammatory response to injection of saline solution.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The inflammatory response to LPS appeared to be attenuated more quickly in TMJs than in MCP joints of horses. The difference in response suggested that a lack of clinical osteoarthritis in the TMJ of horses could be attributable to a difference in cytokine response.