Osteocyte Biology

Teresita Bellido, Paola D. Pajevic, Lynda Bonewald

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Osteocytes are defined as cells embedded within the bone matrix. As it is difficult to extract these cells from bone, the biology of these cells was largely ignored for decades. Once tools became available to study these cells, surprising functions have been identified. These functions include regulation of skeletal homeostasis, mechanosensation and mechanotransduction, and as endocrine cells secreting factors that can target distant organs, such as kidney and muscle. It has recently emerged that mutations in osteocyte biomarkers coding for hormones and factors are responsible for a number of bone conditions and diseases. As the osteocyte is the longest-lived bone cell, it should be considered a memory cell that can undergo senescence with aging. Clearly bone health is dependent on the function and health of the osteocyte.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGenetics of Bone Biology and Skeletal Disease
Subtitle of host publicationSecond Edition
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780128041987
ISBN (Print)9780128041826
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Apoptosis
  • Dmp1
  • FGF23
  • Osteocyte
  • Phex
  • Sclerostin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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  • Cite this

    Bellido, T., Pajevic, P. D., & Bonewald, L. (2018). Osteocyte Biology. In Genetics of Bone Biology and Skeletal Disease: Second Edition (pp. 227-240). Elsevier Inc.. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-804182-6.00014-9