Annals of Biomedical Engineering

, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 644–659 | Cite as

Electrical Signal Transmission in a Bone Cell Network: The Influence of a Discrete Gap Junction

  • Dajun Zhang
  • Sheldon Weinbaum
  • Stephen C. Cowin


A refined electrical cable model is formulated to investigate the role of a discrete gap junction in the intracellular transmission of electrical signals in an electrically coupled system of osteocytes and osteoblasts in an osteon. The model also examines the influence of the ratio q between the membrane's electrical time constant and the characteristic time of pore fluid pressure, the circular, cylindrical geometry of the osteon, and key simplifying assumptions in our earlier continuous cable model (see Zhang, D., S. C. Cowin, and S. Weinbaum. Electrical signal transmission and gap junction regulation in a bone cell network: A cable model for an osteon. Ann. Biomed. Eng. 25:379–396, 1997). Using this refined model, it is shown that (1) the intracellular potential amplitude at the osteoblastic end of the osteonal cable retains the character of a combination of a low-pass and a high-pass filter as the corner frequency varies in the physiological range; (2) the presence of a discrete gap junction near a resting osteoblast can lead to significant modulation of the intracellular potential and current in the osteoblast for measured values of the gap junction coupling strength; and (3) the circular, cylindrical geometry of the osteon is well simulated by the beam analogy used in Zhang et al. © 1998 Biomedical Engineering Society.

PAC98: 8722-q, 8710+e

Gap junctions Intercellular communication Osteon Electrokinetics Poroelasticity Cable theory Streaming potential Extracellular matrix Glycosaminoglycan Fixed-charge density Bone cell network: gap junctions 


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Copyright information

© Biomedical Engineering Society 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dajun Zhang
    • 1
  • Sheldon Weinbaum
    • 1
  • Stephen C. Cowin
    • 1
  1. 1.CUNY Graduate School and Department of Mechanical EngineeringCity College of New YorkNew York

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