Connexins and pannexins in the skeleton: Gap junctions, hemichannels and more

Lilian I. Plotkin, Joseph P. Stains

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

26 Scopus citations


Regulation of bone homeostasis depends on the concerted actions of bone-forming osteoblasts and bone-resorbing osteoclasts, controlled by osteocytes, cells derived from osteoblasts surrounded by bone matrix. The control of differentiation, viability and function of bone cells relies on the presence of connexins. Connexin43 regulates the expression of genes required for osteoblast and osteoclast differentiation directly or by changing the levels of osteocytic genes, and connexin45 may oppose connexin43 actions in osteoblastic cells. Connexin37 is required for osteoclast differentiation and its deletion results in increased bone mass. Less is known on the role of connexins in cartilage, ligaments and tendons. Connexin43, connexin45, connexin32, connexin46 and connexin29 are expressed in chondrocytes, while connexin43 and connexin32 are expressed in ligaments and tendons. Similarly, although the expression of pannexin1, pannexin2 and pannexin3 has been demonstrated in bone and cartilage cells, their function in these tissues is not fully understood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2853-2867
Number of pages15
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 24 2015


  • Bone
  • Cartilage
  • Connexin
  • Ligament
  • Pannexin
  • Tendon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology

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