All cells respond to mechanical stimulation, but few are as mechanosensitive as osteocytes. Osteocytes are terminally differentiated osteoblasts encased within mineralized bone matrix that send dendritic processes throughout the bone matrix. These cells are in contact with each other, with the bone surface, and with the vascular system within bone. Their morphology and connectivity are ideal for establishing them as mechanosensory cells that coordinate adaptive responses of the skeleton to mechanical loading. Within the past few years, it has been shown that these cells are multifunctional, serving as endocrine cells, regulators of phosphate homeostasis, controllers of bone remodeling through regulation of both osteoclasts and osteoblasts, and managers of calcium reserves in bone. The function of these cells should be taken into consideration when developing therapeutics for bone loss due to immobilization and bone disease such as osteoporosis, especially as occurs with aging.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Issue number||SUPPL. 3|
|State||Published - Jun 2014|
- Gap junctions
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism