Asymmetric intercellular communication between bone cells: Propagation of the calcium signaling

Taiji Adachi, Yuki Aonuma, Keisuke Taira, Masaki Hojo, Hiroshi Kamioka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Bone functional adaptation by remodeling is achieved by harmonized activities of bone cells in which osteocytes in the bone matrix are believed to play critical roles in sensing mechanical stimuli and transmitting signals to osteoclasts/osteoblasts on the bone surface in order to regulate their bone remodeling activities through the lacuno-canalicular network with many slender osteocytic processes. In this study, we investigated the intercellular communication between bone cells, particularly focusing on its directionality, through in vitro observations of the calcium signaling response to mechanical stimulus and its propagation to neighboring cells (NCs). Direct mechanical stimulus was applied to isolated bone cells from chick calvariae, osteocytes (Ocys) and bone surface cells (BSCs) mainly containing osteoblasts, and the percentage of calcium signaling propagation from the stimulated cell to NCs was analyzed. The results revealed that, regardless of the type of stimulated cell, the signaling propagated to BSCs with a significantly higher percentage, implying that calcium signaling propagation between bone cells strongly depends on the type of receiver cell and not the transmitter cell. In addition, in terms of mutual communication between Ocys and BSCs, the percentage of propagation from Ocys to BSCs is significantly higher than that in the opposite direction, suggesting that the calcium signaling mainly propagates asymmetrically with a bias from Ocys in bone matrix to BSCs on bone surfaces. This asymmetric communication between Ocys and BSCs suggests that osteocytic mechanosensing and cellular communications, which significantly affect bone surface remodeling activities to achieve functional adaptation, seem to be well coordinated and active at the location of biologically suitable and mechanically sensitive regions close to the bone surfaces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)495-500
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2009


  • Bone functional adaptation
  • Calcium signaling propagation
  • Cell-cell communication
  • Mechanobiology
  • Mechanosensing
  • Osteocytes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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