Osteoblast functions and their role in skeletal bone diseases

Eman Allam, Pierre Eleniste, Angela Bruzzaniti, L. Jack Windsor

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Osteoblasts are highly specialized mesenchymal cells that are responsible for the formation and maintenance of the skeletal architecture. They produce extracellular matrix proteins and are regulators of matrix mineralization during bone formation and remodeling. Osteoblasts regulate the activity of osteoclasts through the secretion of cytokines such as receptor activator of nuclear factor κ-B ligand, macrophage colony stimulating factor and osteoprotegerin. In many pathological conditions, bone formation and remodeling are dysregulated and osteoblasts have a major role in the pathogenesis of these disorders. Abnormalities in the differentiation and functions of osteoblasts occur in several common human diseases such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. In late-stage osteoporosis, osteoblasts exhibit decreased proliferation rates and abnormal functions, while in osteoarthritis abnormal behaviors and metabolism are observed. There are also some rare human diseases, such as van Buchem's disease, in which osteoblast activity is increased leading to a high bone mass phenotype. In addition, some solid tumors metastasize to the skeleton as a result of dysregulated osteoblast activity. This chapter will summarize the current knowledge about osteoblast functions and their role in skeletal bone diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationOsteoblasts
Subtitle of host publicationMorphology, Functions and Clinical Implications
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9781624178061
StatePublished - Feb 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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    Allam, E., Eleniste, P., Bruzzaniti, A., & Windsor, L. J. (2013). Osteoblast functions and their role in skeletal bone diseases. In Osteoblasts: Morphology, Functions and Clinical Implications (pp. 63-82). Nova Science Publishers, Inc..