Isolation, Purification, Generation, and Culture of Osteocytes

  • Jonathan H. Gooi
  • Ling Yeong Chia
  • Christina Vrahnas
  • Natalie A. SimsEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1914)


Osteocytes reside within bone matrix and produce both paracrine and endocrine factors that influence the skeleton and other tissues. Despite their abundance and physiological importance, osteocytes have been difficult to study in vitro because they are difficult to extract and purify, and do not retain their phenotype in standard culture conditions. However, new techniques for this purpose are emerging. This chapter will describe three methods we use to study osteocytes: (1) isolating and purifying primary osteocytes from murine bone, with and without hematopoietic-lineage depletion, (2) differentiating cultured osteoblasts (or osteoblast cell lines) until they reach a stage of osteocytic gene expression, and (3) using the Ocy454 osteocyte-like cell line.

Key words

Osteocyte Osteoblast Cell purification 



The authors acknowledge the support of the National Health and Medical Research Council (Australia) (NHMRC) Project Grants 100242 and 100978. NAS is supported by an NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship. St Vincent’s Institute is also supported by State Government of Victoria’s Operational Infrastructure Support program.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan H. Gooi
    • 1
  • Ling Yeong Chia
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Christina Vrahnas
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  • Natalie A. Sims
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Medicine, St. Vincent’s Hospital MelbourneThe University of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.St. Vincent’s Institute of Medical ResearchMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.Drug Discovery Biology, Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical SciencesMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia
  4. 4.MRC Protein Phosphorylation & Ubiquitylation Unit, University of DundeeSir James Black CentreDundeeUK

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