The three-dimensional morphometry and cell-cell communication of the osteocyte network in chick and mouse embryonic calvaria

Yasuyo Sugawara, Ryoko Ando, Hiroshi Kamioka, Yoshihito Ishihara, Tadashi Honjo, Noriaki Kawanabe, Hiroshi Kurosaka, Teruko Takano-Yamamoto, Takashi Yamashiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


The study of osteocytes has progressed in chicks. We examined whether chick osteocyte data can be applied to other species. We used mice for comparison because they are common clinical tools in biomedical research and useful for future study. We analyzed the three-dimensional (3D) osteocyte network and gap junctional intercellular communication (GJIC) in living embryonic calvaria for the anatomical features. Embryonic parietal bones were stained with fluorescently labeled phalloidin and observed using confocal laser scanning microscopy. GJIC between osteocytes in chick and mouse parietal bone was assessed using fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP). The values for one chick and mouse osteocyte, respectively, were calculated as follows: cell processes 1,131 ± 139 μm, 2,668 ± 596 μm; surface area 1,128 ± 358 μm2, 2,654 ± 659 μm2; and cell volume 455 ± 90 μm3, 1,328 ± 210 μm3. The density of 3D osteocyte processes in the bone matrix was not significantly different. FRAP analysis showed dye coupling among osteocytes in chick and mouse bone. The fluorescence intensity recovered to 49.0 ± 2.4% in chicks and 39.9 ± 2.4% in mice after 5 minutes. Fluorescence recovery was similar within 4 minutes. The difference in osteocyte size between the two species might have affected their functions. Osteocyte processes in the two species may sense similarly changes in the exterior environment. We successfully conducted morphological and functional analyses of the osteocyte network in chicks and mice. The size of the osteocytes in bone differed between the two species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)416-424
Number of pages9
JournalCalcified Tissue International
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2011


  • Bone architecture/structure
  • Osteoblast
  • Osteocyte

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Endocrinology


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