Impact of Gap Junctional Intercellular Communication on MLO-Y4 Sclerostin and Soluble Factor Expression

Academic Article


  • Bone remodeling is a continual process in which old bone is resorbed by osteoclasts and new bone is formed by osteoblasts, providing a mechanism for bones’ ability to adapt to changes in its mechanical environment. While the role of osteoblasts and osteoclasts in bone remodeling is well understood, the cellular regulation of bone remodeling is unclear. One theory is that osteocytes, found within bone, play an important role in controlling the bone remodeling response. Osteocytes possess gap junctions, narrow channels that extend between nearby cells and allow communication between cells via the transfer of small molecules and ions. This work investigated the potential role of gap junctional intercellular communication in bone remodeling by exposing osteocyte-like MLO-Y4 cells to mechanical strains and quantifying the expression of soluble factors, including sclerostin, a protein closely associated with bone remodeling. The soluble factors and sclerostin expression were further examined after inhibiting gap junctional intercellular communication to study the impact of the communication. At supraphysiologic strains, the inhibition of gap junctional intercellular communication led to increases in sclerostin expression relative to cells in which communication was present, indicating that the communication may play a significant role in regulating bone remodeling.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • York SL; Sethu P; Saunders MM
  • Start Page

  • 1170
  • End Page

  • 1180
  • Volume

  • 44
  • Issue

  • 4