Intercellular communication and mechanotransduction in bone

Damian C Genetos, Henry J. Donahue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose of review: Harold M. Frost's work advanced the concept of the mechanical function of the skeleton: that mechanical loads function as a feedback mechanism to control skeletal homeostasis. This review highlights some of the recent discoveries of novel pathways whereby mechanical loads may regulate bone mass and density. Recent findings: Recent findings have confirmed that osteoblasts and osteocytes, like other cell lineages, release adenosine triphosphate in response to external mechanical loads. The action of adenosine triphosphate action on P2 purinergic receptors is required for load-induced calcium transients, prostaglandin E2 release, and bone formation. Furthermore, osteoclast formation and activation seem to be under purinergic control. Additionally, a new role for connexon hemichannel function in mechanotransduction independently of gap junctional communication is discussed. Summary: Emerging in-vitro data point to a role for connexin43 in bone cell mechanotransduction. Furthermore, though not extensively studied in this context, adenosine triphosphate and purinergic receptors also play a role in mechanotransduction; however, for the physiologic relevance of these in-vitro data to be determined, the role of connexins or purinergic receptors in mechanotransduction in vivo must be examined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-315
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Opinion in Orthopaedics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2005


  • Adenosine triphosphate
  • Connexon
  • Gap junction
  • Hemichannel
  • Purinergic receptors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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