, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 219-227,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 29 Dec 2010

Cellular mechanisms of bone remodeling

Abstract

Bone remodeling is a tightly regulated process securing repair of microdamage (targeted remodeling) and replacement of old bone with new bone through sequential osteoclastic resorption and osteoblastic bone formation. The rate of remodeling is regulated by a wide variety of calcitropic hormones (PTH, thyroid hormone, sex steroids etc.). In recent years we have come to appreciate that bone remodeling proceeds in a specialized vascular structure,—the Bone Remodeling Compartment (BRC). The outer lining of this compartment is made up of flattened cells, displaying all the characteristics of lining cells in bone including expression of OPG and RANKL. Reduced bone turnover leads to a decrease in the number of BRCs, while increased turnover causes an increase in the number of BRCs. The secretion of regulatory factors inside a confined space separated from the bone marrow would facilitate local regulation of the remodeling process without interference from growth factors secreted by blood cells in the marrow space. The BRC also creates an environment where cells inside the structure are exposed to denuded bone, which may enable direct cellular interactions with integrins and other matrix factors known to regulate osteoclast/osteoblast activity. However, the denuded bone surface inside the BRC also constitutes an ideal environment for the seeding of bone metastases, known to have high affinity for bone matrix. Circulating osteoclast- and osteoblast precursor cells have been demonstrated in peripheral blood. The dominant pathway regulating osteoclast recruitment is the RANKL/OPG system, while many different factors (RUNX, Osterix) are involved in osteoblast differentiation. Both pathways are modulated by calcitropic hormones.