Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

, Volume 67, Issue 23, pp 4001-4009

First online:

Cellular communications in bone homeostasis and repair

  • Ken-ichi NakahamaAffiliated withDepartment of Cellular Physiological Chemistry, Graduate School, Tokyo Medical and Dental University Email author 

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Cellular communication between the bone component cells osteoblasts, osteocytes and (pre-)osteoclasts is essential for bone remodeling which maintains bone integrity. As in the remodeling of other organs, cell death is a trigger for remodeling of bone. During the systematic process of bone remodeling, direct or indirect cell–cell communication is indispensable. Thus, osteoblasts induce migration and differentiation of preosteoclasts, which is followed by bone resorption (by mature multinuclear osteoclasts). After completion of bone resorption, apoptosis of mature osteoclasts and differentiation of osteoblasts are initiated. At this time, the osteoblasts do not support osteoclast differentiation but do support bone formation. Finally, osteoblasts differentiate to osteocytes in bone or to bone lining cells on bone surfaces. In this way, old bone areas are regenerated as new bone. In this review the role of cell–cell communication in bone remodeling is discussed.


Osteoblast Osteocyte Osteoclast Gap junction Cell communication Adhesion molecule cAMP