Osteocytes: An exquisitely sensitive mechanosensory cell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


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 languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S465-S467+S494-S495
JournalOsteoporosis International
Issue numberSUPPL. 3
StatePublished - Jun 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • Bone
  • Gap junctions
  • Mechanotransduction
  • Osteocyte

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

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