Pharmacological topics of bone metabolism: Glutamate as a signal mediator in bone

Takeshi Takarada, Yukio Yoneda

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


The view that L-glutamate (Glu) is an excitatory amino acid neurotransmitter in the mammalian central nervous system is prevailing on the basis of successful cloning of a number of genes encoding different signaling molecules, such as Glu receptors for the signal input, Glu transporters for the signal termination and vesicular Glu transporters for the signal output through exocytotic release. Little attention has been paid to an extracellular transmitter role of Glu in peripheral neuronal and non-neuronal tissues, by contrast, whereas recent molecular biological and pharmacological analyses including ours give rise to a novel function for Glu as an autocrine and/ or paracrine signal mediator in bone comprised of osteoblasts, osteoclasts and osteocytes, in addition to other peripheral tissues including pancreas, adrenal and pituitary glands. Emerging evidence suggests that Glu could play a dual role in mechanisms underlying the maintenance of cellular homeostasis as an excitatory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system and as an extracellular signal mediator in peripheral autocrine and/or paracrine tissues. In this review, therefore, we would outline the possible signaling system for Glu to play a role as an extracellular signal mediator in mechanisms underlying maintenance of the cellular homeostasis in bone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)536-541
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pharmacological Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Bone metabolism
  • Cystine/glutamate antiporter
  • Glutamate
  • NMDA receptor
  • Osteoblast
  • Osteoclast

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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