The dependences of osteocyte network on bone compartment, age, and disease.

Academic Article


  • Osteocytes, the most abundant bone cells, form an interconnected network in the lacunar-canalicular pore system (LCS) buried within the mineralized matrix, which allows osteocytes to obtain nutrients from the blood supply, sense external mechanical signals, and communicate among themselves and with other cells on bone surfaces. In this study, we examined key features of the LCS network including the topological parameter and the detailed structure of individual connections and their variations in cortical and cancellous compartments, at different ages, and in two disease conditions with altered mechanosensing (perlecan deficiency and diabetes). LCS network showed both topological stability, in terms of conservation of connectivity among osteocyte lacunae (similar to the "nodes" in a computer network), and considerable variability the pericellular annular fluid gap surrounding lacunae and canaliculi (similar to the "bandwidth" of individual links in a computer network). Age, in the range of our study (15-32 weeks), affected only the pericellular fluid annulus in cortical bone but not in cancellous bone. Diabetes impacted the spacing of the lacunae, while the perlecan deficiency had a profound influence on the pericellular fluid annulus. The LCS network features play important roles in osteocyte signaling and regulation of bone growth and adaptation.
  • Published In

  • Bone Research  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Lai X; Price C; Modla S; Thompson WR; Caplan J; Kirn-Safran CB; Wang L
  • Volume

  • 3