Purpose of review: To discuss current knowledge on the role of connexins and pannexins in the musculoskeletal system. Recent findings: Connexins and pannexins are crucial for the development and maintenance of both bone and skeletal muscle. In bone, the presence of connexin and more recently of pannexin channels in osteoblasts, osteoclasts, and osteocytes has been described and shown to be essential for normal skeletal development and bone adaptation. In skeletal muscles, connexins and pannexins play important roles during development and regeneration through coordinated regulation of metabolic functions via cell-to-cell communication. Further, under pathological conditions, altered expression of these proteins can promote muscle atrophy and degeneration by stimulating inflammasome activity. Summary: In this review, we highlight the important roles of connexins and pannexins in the development, maintenance, and regeneration of musculoskeletal tissues, with emphasis on the mechanisms by which these molecules mediate chemical (e.g., ATP and prostaglandin E2) and physical (e.g., mechanical stimulation) stimuli that target the musculoskeletal system and their involvement in the pathophysiological changes in both genetic and acquired diseases.
- Gap junctions
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism