Circadian rhythm of mechanically mediated differentiation of osteoblasts
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Rats entrained to alternating 12 h light/dark periods were sacrificed at hourly intervals over one complete circadian cycle. Each animal was injected with3H-Thymidine 1 h before death. Autoradiographs of serial sections of maxillary first molar periodontal ligament (PDL) were prepared. Nuclear volume was determined for labeled fibroblastlike PDL cells along a physiological bone forming surface. Preosteoblasts (large nuclei), the immediate proliferating precursors of osteoblasts, were found to synthesize DNA primarily during the environmental light period and divide during the subsequent dark cycle. Less differentiated precursor cells (small nuclei), the proliferating predecessors of preosteoblasts, were in S phase primarily during the dark period and divided in the following light cycle. Since previous studies have indicated, the stress/strain-mediated increase in nuclear size to form preosteoblasts also requires about 8–12 h, the least complex osteoblast differentiation model, which is consistent with the present data, is a 60 h sequence involving at least four cell types and five alternating dark/light cycles. The principal rate-limiting step in osteoblast differentiation is the mechanically related shift in nuclear size (change in genomic expression) associated with formation of preosteoblasts.
Key wordsOsteoblast differentiation Circadian rhythm Mechanical stress Bone formation Periodontium
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